"Every bed they [refugees from Mideast, Africa] occupy is a bed where no real refugee from Ukraine can sleep," Ruben Brekelmans says, adding to ongoing racism and selective empathy for refugees in Europe.

People from Morocco or Tunisia should be sent back to home countries from the Netherlands, says Ruben Brekelmans.
People from Morocco or Tunisia should be sent back to home countries from the Netherlands, says Ruben Brekelmans. (AP)

A Dutch lawmaker has called for space to be made in the Netherlands for "real refugees from Ukraine" and for those "who have no right to stay" to be returned to their country of origin, apparently referring to the refugees escaping conflicts and poverty in the Middle East and North Africa.

In an opinion piece published on Monday by the Dutch weekly EW Magazine, Ruben Brekelmans said his party, the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), "always advocates for the reception of refugees in our own region."

"Ukraine is the largest country in Europe, borders four EU member states, and is about the same distance away as Spain. In short, this is our region," he said, adding that there was a "shortage of beds" in the Netherlands even without Ukrainian refugees and that solutions should be found to receive more refugees from Ukraine.

"It is now more important than ever that every reception place is available for real refugees. Thousands of aliens who have exhausted all legal remedies reside in the Netherlands, are not entitled to asylum," said the Dutch legislator. 

"These are people from Morocco or Tunisia, for example, who can return safely."

"Every bed they occupy is a bed where no real refugee from Ukraine can sleep. It is therefore now even more important that they return quickly to their safe country of origin," said Brekelmans.

He underlined that others seeking asylum should swiftly be returned to their country of origin and that those who do not cooperate should be forced to leave the Netherlands by amending the necessary legislation.

Since the start of Russia's war on Ukraine over two million refugees left to neighbouring countries according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). 

The number could top five million, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told a news conference on Monday.

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Racism in Europe

Last week, the leader of Spain's Vox party, Santiago Abascal, said Ukrainian refugees, not Muslim migrants, should be welcomed in Spain.

Reports on alleged racial discrimination against non-Ukrainians or non-Europeans leaving Ukraine also took centre stage on European countries' treatment of refugees.

The EU has since weighed in, with spokesperson Anitta Hipper saying that all people fleeing the war in Ukraine should be allowed into the bloc, regardless of their nationality, ethnicity, or skin colour.

For his part, International Organization for Migration (IOM) head Antonio Vitorino said on Thursday that discrimination and racism against foreign nationals fleeing Ukraine "must end."

Several non-profit organisations working with asylum seekers have also denounced French authorities for racially discriminating against non-European refugees while maintaining welcoming policies towards Ukrainians fleeing from the ongoing war with Russia with open arms.

Nearly 1,000 refugees from Ukraine arrived in the Netherlands so far, the website DutchNews reported on Tuesday.

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Source: AA