The Dutch authorities reject one in five Syrian refugees who interview in camps in Turkey and who are likely to be resettled in Europe, either because of their extremist ideas or because they do not accept Western norms and values. Although UNHCR, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, considers this group “very vulnerable”, overall, around 20% of applicants do not manage to move to the Netherlands. This is due to “the danger they pose to security, or to the difficulties that their vision of society would imply for their integration”, according to Paul van Musscher, the police command responsible for overseeing their arrival.
Van Musscher, in statements made by the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant, has stated that among the reasons for the refusal is the refusal of the Syrian refugees “to accept equality between men and women.” On other occasions, some of the potential resettlers assured their interviewers that they would “never ” take their children “to a mixed school or pool. ” In such case, “the file is crossed out and they do not enter the Netherlands,” said the police command.
The Ministry of Justice, for its part, indicates that there are Syrians who “prefer not to attempt the Dutch adventure, because the diversity and social equity of a Western country are contrary to their ideas.” UNHCR sources add that the refugees “are sometimes inclined to another country, where they already have relatives, and that group is part of that 20% who do not get to travel to Holland.”
According to the High Commissioner’s figures, the Netherlands has accepted 288 Syrians resettled from Turkey this year. In 2017 they were 2,100. To date, in 2018, the EU countries have hosted about 15,000 of these refugees out of the 72,000 who had to be divided. Most of them are in Holland and Germany.
Turkey now hosts some 3.9 million refugees in its territory, of whom 3.5 million are Syrians, according to UNHCR. In March 2016, the EU and Ankara agreed on a series of measures aimed at reducing this human flow, which came mainly on the Greek coasts. Under the agreement, “anyone who arrives in an irregular manner in Greece will be sent to Turkish soil, asylum seekers [because of war or for political reasons] included.” In return, Turkey would receive some 3,000 million euros to assist them.
Then a humanitarian program would be launched to distribute the Syrians among various European countries. For every Syrian citizen transferred to Turkish refugee camps from Greece, the EU had to accept another from Turkey itself. Last March, Brussels proposed doubling that amount, as indicated by the migration agreement adopted in 2016. Given the precariousness of their situation, the refugee could not be chosen, as is happening now. Dutch police sources point out that “the route” through UNHCR “is special.” In this case, there is a prior selection of candidates for resettlement, which does not happen in ordinary asylum requests.