Council of State declares ruling on single male asylum seekers unlawful

The Council of State has ruled that the decision not to offer shelter to single male asylum seekers violates the right to reception that asylum seekers have by law.

On Wednesday, the Council of State suspended an implementation enacted by the secretary of state for Asylum and Migration, Nicole de Moor (CD&V). In August, she announced that single male asylum seekers could still apply for asylum but would no longer be entitled to a place in the Fedasil reception network. She wanted to prevent families with children from ending up on the street.

Her decision was met with swift criticism, including from her own party.

Several organisations appealed against the order. In its ruling on Wednesday, the court said: "At this stage of the procedure, the Council of State considers that this decision is not in accordance with the right to reception granted to all asylum seekers by the law of 12 January 2007 on the reception of asylum seekers and specific other categories of foreigners."

The ruling did not come as a surprise to De Moor, who told Het Nieuwsblad in anticipation of the Council's decision: "I have no illusions. The Council of State will say that everyone has the right to shelter. But just because the Council of State says so, that doesn't mean we suddenly have thousands of extra places."

Meanwhile, De Moor's search for additional accommodation continues with the help of her colleagues within the government. She is working with Brussels to increase homeless shelters, which asylum seekers could use.


State secretary for Asylum and Migration Nicole de Moor © BELGA PHOTO ERIC LALMAND

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