Plight of Christian asylum seekers in Dutch centres

20th October 2010, Comments 0 comments


Christian asylum seekers living temporarily in Dutch refugee centres are often threatened or physically abused by fellow refugees who are Muslims, according to a support group. The Christian group, the Gift Foundation Stichting Gave presented its findings on Dutch public TV on Tuesday.

Christian Union MP Joël Voordewind said he was "shocked" by the reported incidents, particularly given the vulnerability of Muslim converts to Christianity who departed from Islamic countries for religious reasons. "They fled to the Netherlands because of their beliefs and should be safe here. It's terrible that they are being oppressed," Mr Voordewind said.

Immigration Minister Gerd Leers, reacting to the TV report and to questions in the Lower House, said the findings are a serious warning signal and he will investigate whether measures need to be taken.

The Dutch body responsible for housing refugees and asylum seekers COA rejected the report. "Providing a safe living environment for asylum seekers is our core activity. If individuals do not feel safe, we take appropriate measures, not only in case of religious intimidation, but also if political convictions, ethnic origin, sexual orientation or other factors are involved," the COA said.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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