Belgian parties call for moratorium on deportation of Iranians

Belgian majority and opposition parties are urging the country's State Secretary for Asylum and Migration Nicole de Moor (CD&V, Flemish Christian-Democrats) to temporarily suspend deportations of Iranians to their country of origin. 

At the centre of the debate is the fate of three Iranian men who arrived in Belgium in November. Belgium's General Commission for Refugees and Stateless Persons (CGRS) and the judges of the country's Council for Alien Law Litigation (RVV) ruled the men were not in need of international protection in an initial procedure, meaning they would be deported. Their deportation was recently suspended at the last minute and a new asylum application has since been filed. 

The competent Parliamentary Committee debated the issue on Wednesday. Both the Belgian opposition parties PTB-PVDA (far-left party) and N-VA (Flemish nationalists) and the majority parties PS (French-speaking socialists) and Ecolo/Groen (green party) have asked the State Secretary to temporarily suspend the deportation of all Iranian nationals. They fear that the three men will be immediately imprisoned on their return to Iran without any guarantees for their human rights. "Their names and faces are now known in Iran. They are now a sensitive target of the regime," said Darya Safai (N-VA), who herself fled Iran in the late 1990s.

Secretary of State de Moor assured that the CGRS does investigate the legitimacy of fears of prosecution. "The CGRS is independent and investigates minutely on the basis of verified information, and it does so on the basis of individual and up-to-date information," it said. "It is not up to me or you to judge in individual cases who is granted asylum and who is not. That right belongs to an independent body." De Moor called it "scandalous how the professionalism and independence of the CGRS and the RVV judges are being questioned." 


State Secretary for Asylum and Migration Nicole de Moor © BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK



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