Hardly any room left for unaccompanied minors in Belgian reception centres

Places for unaccompanied minors are running out. Fedasil confirms this to Belga after around 20 young people were denied access to a reception place on Tuesday. The Federal Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers created 1,000 extra places last year, but they are already full due to the large influx of minor refugees.

"We have been warning for months that with the current inflow and outflow, one day we would not be able to accommodate all unaccompanied minors . That day came yesterday," Mieke Candaele, director of communications at Fedasil, explained.

On Tuesday, priority was therefore given to the most vulnerable and youngest minors. The 20 or so youngsters who did not find a place are those whose age was questioned. They were referred to the guardianship service to have an age screening done, but this screening too can take a long time.

Fedasil strongly refutes that no efforts are being made, as 1,000 additional reception places for minors have been created in a year.

"Currently, we have 3,139 places for minors. In August last year, at the beginning of this crisis period, there were 2,147 places. That is a huge effort that Fedasil has made," Candaele stressed.

However, those places are now full. Most of the refugees, 2,173 in total, are from Afghanistan. ​ That group comprises 72 percent of the unaccompanied minors currently in the reception centres.

In addition, there are currently 1,200 youngsters waiting for the appointment of a guardian.

"There are also many minus-13s in our reception network. These very young unaccompanied minors should not be with us either. But there are not enough places for them in municipalities to accommodate them. Therefore, Fedasil is doing more than what it should be doing," Candaele concluded.


BELGA PHOTO ERIC LALMAND - Asylum seekers wait outside the headquarters of the Fedasil Federal Agency For The Reception Of Asylum Seekers in Brussels, where the ​
registration of asylum seekers will happen from today onwards, Monday 29 August 2022. The Fedasil reception center Klein Kasteeltje - Petit Chateau has been over capacity for weeks, resulting in long waiting lines and people sleeping int the streets.

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