Dutch government agrees to assist homeless migrants

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A general view of the Human Rights Council in session. Photo: Jean-Marc Ferré

A decision by the Dutch government to provide funding to municipalities that offer emergency shelters for homeless migrants has been welcomed by human rights experts.

The announcement by the Government of the Netherlands represents a significant change in the country's longstanding refusal to provide emergency aid to this group.

Jocelyne Sambira reports.

The move by the Dutch government comes after strong urging by international and regional human rights bodies, including the Human Rights Council's three special envoys.

Philip Alston of Australia, Francois Crépeau and Leilani Farha of Canada issued a joint statement on Wednesday.

They commended the Netherlands for recognising by its change of position that anyone, irrespective of whether their stay in a country is lawful, has the right to an adequate standard of living.

That includes, they added, the right to food, clothing and housing.

A responsible government is obliged to allocate resources consistent with its international human rights obligations, the experts concluded.

In December 2014, the experts raised this matter with the Dutch Government and urged them to give homeless migrants emergency help before Christmas.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration:  52″

 

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