Belgian asylum reception crisis: Solution for asylum seekers occupying Brussels building

A solution has been found for the asylum seekers occupying the building on Avenue Albert II in the Belgian capital of Brussels, Brussels Minister-President Rudi Vervoort announced on Tuesday. About seventy asylum seekers occupied the building on Sunday after being evicted from a Brussels warehouse on Friday. Belgium has been facing an asylum reception crisis for more than a year now.

The occupation followed a series of evictions of squats and encampments where asylum seekers sought shelter as the Belgian government faces a shortage of reception places. Each eviction was accompanied by promises that all those affected would be given shelter, but each time a number of asylum seekers had to find alternative solutions.

"For some, it was the third eviction in a month," Sacha, a member of the support collective 'stop the reception crisis', said on Sunday. "They have every right to reception and assistance, but the state refuses to respect their rights. At the same time, the Brussels region and the Brussels municipalities continue to destroy the alternative solutions that asylum seekers and Belgian citizens have set up. This situation is unacceptable and shameful".

Police surrounded the state-owned building on Sunday night and prevented food from being delivered. Eventually an agreement was reached and the first food delivery took place on Monday.

On Tuesday, a solution was found for the occupants of the building by the Brussels Region, in collaboration with Belgian Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration Nicole de Moor. They will be offered shelter by the homeless organisation Samusocial, in a building managed by refugee-led collectives and in buildings belonging to the Brussels Region. Afterwards, they will be taken into the care of the Belgian Federal Office for Asylum (Fedasil) as soon as possible.

This solution allows for a voluntary evacuation of the building so that people can be re-accommodated. The proposal will be communicated to the residents, said Minister-President Vervoort. 




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