AMSTERDAM – After the Dutch city of Leiden said it would accept 25 refugee children from the thousands stuck in detention centers and camps in Greece, The Netherlands government said it wouldn’t follow suit to bring in more.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte said he’s prepared to contribute to plans by the European Union to step up some aid for Greece, which is holding some 100,000 refugees and migrants, including 42,000 on islands near Turkey which is allowing human traffickers to send more and has sent thousands more to the northern border with Greece, where they are stuck in limbo.
The Parliament has little appetite to help though, said Dutch News, after four coalition partners of the government and Christian parties voted against a motion which would have committed the Netherlands to accepting some of the children, with Muslims the dominant religion of those in Greek camps.
Dutch refugee groups have called on local authorities to “show leadership and generosity” by bringing 500 refugee children in Greece without parents to the Netherlands because they are living in misery, the report said.
They said thousands of children are being denied water, food, education, medical care and shelter with the European Union having closed its borders and other countries reneging on promises to take some of the overload from Greece to help.
“We are talking about children whose parents have died or are missing and who are living on Lesbos in terrible conditions,,” Leiden Mayor Henri Lenferink said. “Leiden has always been a city of refugees and I am fully confident we will be able to look after these children properly,” he said. Greece asked EU countries to take in 2,500 children last October.