EU state ‘ashamed’ of asylum-seeker treatment — Analysis

Mark Rutte is the Dutch Prime Minister and has promised to improve living conditions at reception centers

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Friday that he was “ashamed” of living conditions in the overcrowded Ter Apel asylum-seeker processing center, and promised to resolve the problem with handling new arrivals.

Doctors Without Borders, an international humanitarian organization that advocates for refugees and medical aid (MSF), previously published a damning report about Ter Apel’s center. They urged the authorities to open more refugee reception centers. Leon Veldt, the spokesman for the Dutch government’s refugee organization (COA), told AFP on Saturday that “several hundred”Mamigres were taken from Ter Apel to be transferred to reception centers throughout the country.

“We hope to slowly normalize the situation at Ter Apel,”Veldt stated.

MSF released a statement Thursday stating that around 700 people (including pregnant women) were being forced to camp outside of the center. “completely overwhelmed and unable to meet the most basic needs of new arrivals.”A global humanitarian group described Ter Apel’s living situation as “inhumane and undignified.” 

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This report was made after the death of a 3-month-old infant in a sports hall used for asylum seekers.

Carola Schouten (Dutch Poverty Minister) said that she was “shocked”I was impressed by your report, and I vowed to rectify it.

“I think that everyone in the Netherlands thinks it’s terrible that MSF feels obliged to jump in at Ter Apel,”Rutte said to reporters that problems in the center had been “not something that can be solved in a few weeks or months.” 

Rutte promised his government that it would concentrate on “a” “structural solution”to manage the inflows of asylum seekers. According to him, the 2015 decisions to decrease asylum capacity as well as a housing crisis had contributed to this problem.

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