Dutch gov't called to rescue kids from Greek refugee camps

Child asylum seekers in Greece
Child asylum seekers in GreecevverveDepositPhotosDeposit Photos

Dozens of politicians, administrators, media personalities, municipalities, and organizations are calling on the Dutch government to take some of the children out of Greek refugee camps and offer them shelter, in a full-page advertisement published in NRC on Thursday. 

This involves children who are in the camps without their parents or guardians. About 2,500 children are currently left to their fate in various camps in Greece, Martijn van der Linden of Vluchtelingenwerk Nederland said to NOS. The organization teamed up with Defense for Children and the Refugee Foundation for this call. "If we don't act now, a catastrophe will happen," he said.

Eleven countries already responded to Greece's call and took in children, including France, Luxembourg, and Germany. "Because of the coronavirus, the need is now very high. Especially for such a vulnerable group of children," Van der Linden said to NOS. "In those camps the mud flows over your toes. Hygiene is hard to find there."

The call is supported by a diverse group of organizations and individuals, including Job Cohen of the Amsterdam May 4 and 5 committee, mosque director Said Bouharrou, various politicians, board members of hospitals, various churches, and people from the broadcaster world. "We have sought as much support as possible, in every corner," Van der Linden said.  

According to Van der Linden, the municipalities who support the call are ready to take in a total of around 500 children. "We hope that the cabinet agrees and that a small proportion of the children can come to the Netherlands."