Netherlands’ plan to put refugees on cruise ships sparks controversy

3 mins read

The Dutch government’s proposed solution to congested asylum centers has been criticized as “absurd” and unconstitutional, and plans to shelter migrants arriving in the Netherlands aboard cruise ships have been denounced as such.

source of news theguardian Although ministers are having difficulty locating more accommodating ports, three huge ships have already been commissioned and one is scheduled to be docked at Velsen, close to IJmuiden in North Holland.

In order to dispel accusations that individuals on board are being forcibly kept hostage by the state, officials are also looking at how they may provide migrants unrestricted mobility on and off the ships.

According to reports, the relocation was required since there was not enough room in refugee centers owing to the massive number of Ukrainians escaping Vladimir Putin’s conflict.

According to plans approved by the Dutch cabinet earlier this week, some 3,000 migrants might be hosted aboard the cruise ships starting in September.

Refugees have been forced to sleep on the grass outside one refugee centre in the village of Ter Apel in the north of the Netherlands due to lack of space, a situation that the government says will not be resolved for at least a fortnight.

The government has further enraged NGOs by suggesting people from Ukraine will not be put on the ships unlike refugees from elsewhere.

The council for refugees, VluchtelingenWerk, described the idea of placing asylum seekers on ships as “absurd”.

A spokesperson said: “The reception of asylum seekers is now far below standard. A cruise ship as a temporary measure is already a lot better than an average crisis emergency shelter. But it’s a different story if you let them float around at sea.

“You don’t need research to think that you can’t do that to people who have fled war and violence. You take care of refugees as a society and not from a distance at sea.”

The UN’s refugee wing, the UNHCR Netherlands, said the move was “undesirable”. “Existing traumas due to the dangerous flight may resurface for some.”

Since the war broke out on 24 February, approximately 60,000 Ukrainians have arrived in the Netherlands.

Two years ago, the Home Office in the UK contemplated housing refugees in disused ferries moored off the coast but the financial cost proved to be too high.



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