Deputy PM urges acceptance of single men seeking asylum
Deputy PM Petra De Sutter (Groen) "urgently requests" that state secretary Nicole de Moor (CD&V) rescind her order to stop accepting single men seeking asylum temporarily. She announced this on X, the former Twitter. The politician calls for additional reception facilities to solve the problem.
Single men will temporarily no longer be offered shelter by Fedasil, the Belgian federal asylum service, secretary of state for Asylum and Migration Nicole de Moor announced on Tuesday. The government and civil society organisations have criticised the decision.
Deputy PM Georges Gilkinet (Ecolo, French-speaking Greens) called the measure "extremely problematic" and "unacceptable". "We must ensure that children and women are properly protected, but the state must also fulfil its obligations towards all asylum seekers," he said.
"If others around the government table also want human rights to be respected in our country, I expect them to take a stand"
To solve the problem, deputy PM Petra De Sutter (Groen, Flemish greens) believes more places should be created. "If others around the government table also want human rights to be respected in our country, I expect them to take a stand," she said. De Sutter has already called for a debate on the issue within the government.
Standards are slipping, she said. "We had the same discussion last year. The promise then was that no one would sleep on the streets. That was a commitment, a promise that was not kept. It cannot go on like this."
De Sutter does not accept that the measure is about preventing families with children from ending up on the streets. "You can set priorities, but making it a policy and formalising it is a step too far." In an interview with De Tijd, prime minister Alexander De Croo (Open VLD) said the measures were only temporary and that the government would continue to look for places to take in children.
Asylum services have been struggling for months with a shortage of reception places. Minors and families with children have already been given priority in the past, meaning that single men often have to wait a long time for a place in the system.
© BELGA PHOTO JUSTIN NAMUR