The Dutch government on Tuesday rejected a call from UN rights experts to provide thousands of homeless migrants with food and shelter during the bitter north European winter.
An estimated 8,000 asylum seekers are turned down every year in the Netherlands and left up to their own devices pending expulsion. Many end up living on the street.
"In these dark days before Christmas, it is appalling that the Dutch government will not even commit less than 0.01 percent of its yearly budget to help people living in absolute misery and poverty," UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human right, Philip Alston.
"Assisting migrants living on the streets is not a matter of charity," he said in a statement on Tuesday, noting that the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) had recently ruled that the Netherlands was "violating the right to emergency assistance of adult homeless irregular migrants".
The Dutch government recently rejected a 15-million euro ($19 million) appeal from 60 local municipalities to look after homeless migrants over the winter.
Junior security and justice minister Fred Teeven of the liberal VVD party said he does not want to encourage rejected asylum seekers to stay in the Netherlands.
But his ministry contested what it called "one-sided information" from the ECSR that informed the UN rapporteur's complaint.
"The Netherlands endeavours to prevent foreign nationals without lawful residence ending up on the street," the security and justice ministry said in an email to AFP.
The ministry repeated its position that it is waiting for a meeting of EU foreign ministers that is expected to discuss the matter in February or March.
"Calling for measures to be adopted is at this stage premature," the ministry said, repeating that it would not refund town councils any money they spend looking after homeless asylum seekers.
Immigration is a sensitive issue in the Netherlands, with the ruling liberal VVD party competing for votes with the far-right anti-Islam PVV party.
"Politicians in the Netherlands have been trying to score political points at the expense of homeless irregular migrants in the national debate about immigration," said the UN special rapporteur on the rights of migrants, Francois Crepeau.
"Human migration patterns will not change by letting migrants sleep on the streets," he said.
Other Dutch political parties, including the Labour PvdA which governs in coalition with the VVD, have called for the government to take measures to help the homeless migrants.