SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The Dutch children’s ombudsman has renewed her call to the government to bring back children who are stuck in camps in Syria because their parents supported IS.
Margrite Kalverboer has urged justice minister Ferd Grapperhaus to bring back dozens of Dutch children living in refugee camps, saying the Netherlands has a duty of care towards them.
‘The development of these children has been seriously threatened by their parents’ choices,’ she said. ‘If parents cannot protect their children, the government should step in.’
The problem is particularly acute now winter is moving in and the situation in Syria has worsened, Kalverboer says in a letter to the government, adding that ‘the Netherlands should end its reticence.’ The ombudsman referred to the recent court case in Belgium in which the Belgian authorities were ordered to bring several children back.
‘I would ask you to provide clarity about which countries are bringing their citizens back or intend to do so, and how they plan to do this,’ the letter stated. Currently, families who wish to come back to the Netherlands have to report to a Dutch diplomatic mission in either Iraq or Turkey.
However, women and children are not allowed to leave the camps, so it is impossible for them to do so. Officials say around 145 children with Dutch nationality or who can make a claim on Dutch nationality are living in the conflict zone.
Grapperhaus has denied the Netherlands has a duty of care towards the children and has told MPs that it is legally complex to separate parents from their children.(DutchNews)