State Sec. wants 1,700 new shelter spots for child asylum seekers by New Year's
State Secretary Eric van der Burg (Asylum) again urgently appealed to municipalities to create more shelter for asylum seekers, specifically unaccompanied minors. He wants 1,700 extra reception places available for these children before January 1, he said in a letter to parliament, NOS reports.
According to the State Secretary, there is a “real” chance that these kids and teenagers will end up sleeping outside in the cold or roaming through municipalities. “I urge you all to avoid this absolute low point.”
Van der Burg made this appeal on Thursday, a few hours after the court in The Hague ruled that the Dutch asylum shelters don’t meet European requirements and ordered the State to improve them. The court specifically said that vulnerable groups, including child asylum seekers who came to the Netherlands without a parent or guardian, may no longer stay in temporary emergency shelters and may not stay at the registration center in Ter Apel for longer than five days.
The court also ordered the State and the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) to provide asylum seekers with a bedroom “with a minimum of 4m2 of sleeping space per person, a door that can be locked, and a window that can be opened.” The State has nine months to meet this requirement. The State and COA must immediately ensure that all asylum seekers have 24/7 access to drinking water and sufficient and suitable food.
Van der Burg agreed that the situation in Ter Apel is the most worrying for the group of unaccompanied children. In recent weeks, children had to sleep on chairs or the floor several times because there was no bed for them, according to NOS.