Refugees: organise accommodation and care, but take concerns seriously

23 October 2015

Refugees: organise accommodation and care, but take concerns seriously

Foto: SP

The refugee crisis is making visible the unrest just below the surface of our society. Hard work is being done by professionals and by volunteers to organise accommodation and care, but at the same time unease in society is growing.

Millions of people are fleeing Syria. Most of them – some 90% - are being accommodated in neighbouring countries. But the camps are full and the living conditions in them appalling. In the SP’s view, it’s right that the Netherlands too should pitch in – because we stand for solidarity and because you can’t let people sleep on the street.

The government of centre-right Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his Labour Party deputy Lodewijk Asscher has gone for the time being for large-scale reception facilities. The SP does not find this a good approach. Reception centres on a smaller scale would generate more support among the population and provoke fewer incidents. Furthermore, this approach would allow more account to be taken of the size of a village or a neighbourhood.

The unrest among the population is not without cause. People want to show their solidarity, but many have the feeling that they have, year in year out, have been the ones to suffer from the crisis. They see that old people can’t find places in care homes and people looking for somewhere to live are having to wait years for social housing while others take precedence.

We must not set people against each other, but solve problems and improve the provision of such things as health care and housing. That means that we should be building more social housing and investing in good quality, affordable care for all who need it.

Social services which we so badly need are being broken up by this government. Health care is becoming unaffordable for many people and unemployment remains high. We do not blame these problems on people fleeing in the face of war, but on the austerity policies of the Rutte-Asscher government. The SP wants to see investment in health care, work and housing. That’s how we’ll get through this crisis.

The real solution to the refugee problem will not be found in the Netherlands, but in the region where the conflict is. Only a political solution will avoid more people being forced to flee. We should work on that, instead of throwing more bombs into the powder keg.

The SP wants the reception of refugees to be humanised and support amongst the population maintained.

  1. Make reception centres smaller. Take into account the size of the village or neighbourhood.
  2. Give residents’ committees a say in the design of these centres.
  3. Improve services which are overburdened such as public transport and high quality (mobile) internet.
  4. Allow asylum seekers’ centres to make use of local businesses, so that their presence benefits everyone.
  5. Ensure that every council makes a proportionate contribution and that councils in areas with wealthy inhabitants offer reception places.
  6. Keep spare capacity available for temporary reception for any future situations.

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