First ‘Dutch’ shelter in Greece for boys aged 13 and over

On the Greek mainland, a start has been made on preparing a first reception location financed by the Netherlands for unaccompanied minor refugees. The first group of young people, aged between 13 and 18, is expected to be able to go there at the end of September. Two other locations will be put into operation as soon as possible thereafter, writes State Secretary Broekers in a letter to the House of Representatives.

In May, the Netherlands decided to set aside money for reception locations with room for 48 young people from the overcrowded refugee camps on the Greek islands. The idea was that up to 500 children could be helped in three years time. Broekers said yesterday that she would inform the House of Representatives about the state of affairs this week.

Broekers writes that the number of unaccompanied minor refugees is currently estimated at about 4500, of whom about 800 are living on the Greek islands. More than 90 percent are boys and the vast majority are probably older than 14 years. The Netherlands has therefore proposed to set up two of the new locations for boys and one for girls. The latter location will also be suitable for the possible reception of underage mothers and their children.

Selection and transfer

“The Greek authorities will ensure the selection and transfer of unaccompanied minor refugees’, writes Broekers ‘Neither the Dutch authorities nor the NGOs have a role in this, because the Greek authorities are in principle responsible for the Greek asylum and reception system’

Since the end of last year Greece has been asking other EU countries to take over 2 500 vulnerable refugee children from the camps on the islands. Eleven countries have responded. According to Broekers, this has resulted in 205 children now being accepted elsewhere in the EU. The Netherlands does not participate in this. According to the Cabinet, it is better to focus on structural improvements in Greece than to bring children to the Netherlands