Freedom of Religion or Belief of Refugees

Gave supports Dutch Churches and Christians in their outreach to refugees. Gave also campaigns on behalf of Christian refugees in the Netherlands and co-operates in international networks for the promotion of Freedom of Religion or Belief of Refugees.

The advocacy and campaign focuses on two major issues:

  • Intimidation and harassment of Christians and other minority groups among the refugees, both within and outside refugee camps and reception centres;
  • The fair assessment of asylum claims of Christian refugees who fear for religious persection in their country of origin.

Intimidation and harassment of Christian refugees

The Dutch Gave Foundation has campaigned on behalf of Christian asylum seekers since 2009. In the course of years, improved procedures and training of reception centre staff was realised. yet, there is still a lot of ignorance with respect to the fundamental issues:

  • Refugees bring their culture into the refugee camps and reception centres. Like at home, Muslims are the majority and tend to discriminate minorities.
  • Reception centre staff tend to underestimate the vulnerability of minority groups and focus on the manageability of the centre or camp: When the (Muslim) majority is quiet all seems well.
  • Minorities have little confidence in reporting incidents out of fear for repercussions.
  • Churches and other civil society groups can help supporting the minority groups but are often banned on grounds of a distorted understanding of religious and political neutrality.

Gave co-operates with Open Doors and SDOK in their campaign for the safety of Christian minorities in the reception centres and among their social groups in our towns and neighbourhoods. Individual cases of intimidation and harassment can be reported to us. We can bring issues to the attention of COA (the Dutch organisation for the reception of asylum seekers) or other authorities.

We do see improvements also. The Dutch Organisation for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) has launched an informative website mycoa.nl for their residents pointing to their obligations and rights and to possiblities of reporting discrimination to both COA and to civil society groups like Gave.

Further reading

Various documents are available in English in our online library (‘bibliotheek’ in Dutch). See also the ‘related’ items on the right hand side of this page.

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