Not so black and white: Refugees protest Dutch treatment

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All creeds. All colours. All struggling. That was the theme of a protest march in The Hague this week that attracted more than a thousand refugees and their supporters.

by Alex Fingleton and Milan Lisica

The protestors carried white umbrellas, opening them simultaneously at one point, draping The Hague’s streets in a sea of white.

Dorine Manson, director of aid organisation VluchtelingenWerk Nederland, says the atmosphere for refugees in the Netherlands has become increasingly inhospitable. “The government is making rules more strict and costs higher, making it more difficult for refugees when they are allowed to stay,” she said.

Taking part in the protest was Congolese refugee Joseph Assani. “I am not happy with the process of refugee status in the Dutch system,” said the 28-year old Hague resident. “It is discrimination. I was in a refugee camp…. I stayed here 12 years and still I can’t work.”

A recent poll by VluchtelingenWerk Nederland showed that more than 57 percent of Dutch people think the country has become less hospitable towards refugees.