The Brussels Labor Court has ordered the Belgian state and Fedasil, the federal agency for the reception of asylum seekers, to guarantee decent living conditions for the asylum seekers occupying a building on Rue de la Loi. The lawyer of the asylum seekers announced this in a press release on Tuesday evening.
Since April 23, eighty asylum seekers have occupied a building next to the CD&V headquarters in Wetstraat. They have not been able to get a place in a Fedasil center, to which they are legally entitled.
The Brussels Labor Court sentenced the Belgian State and Fedasil on Tuesday to provide bed, bath and bread. More specifically: “to ensure the daily and effective provision of showers in the vicinity of the building, the provision of clothing, blankets, sheets, mattresses, the daily provision of three meals a day, urgent medical assistance and urgent medical care for the above-mentioned applicants for international protection who show signs of scabies, physical and/or psychological suffering,” the press release read.
The State and Fedasil are obliged “to pay a penalty of EUR 100 per day per asylum seeker if this specific order is not complied with within three days of its service”.
According to the law, Belgium must immediately take care of applications for international protection, but the government has failed to do so for months.
‘Never stopped looking for more shelters’
“This judgment confirms what the State Secretary has been saying for a long time, namely that every asylum seeker who registers has the right to a reception place,” Sieghild Lacoere, spokeswoman for State Secretary for Asylum and Migration Nicole de Moor (CD&V) told the Belga news agency.
“The State Secretary has also never stopped looking for reception places and is still committed to this together with Fedasil. In addition, she strives for structural solutions in the longer term. That is why a breakthrough with all member states to develop a common asylum and migration policy coming was crucial in June, now it needs to be negotiated further with the European Parliament.”
However, according to the Flemish Council for Refugees, this is “the most powerful verdict” to date. “The court confirms what we have been advocating for a long time,” said Tine Claus, director of Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen. “There is no force majeure at all, the government is simply not doing enough to solve the reception crisis.”
Claus wonders what the separation of powers still means if the executive no longer adheres to the rules of the game. “The longer this situation drags on, the more important this question becomes,” says Claus. “The government behaves like a stubborn speeder who ignores all traffic rules and court orders”.
According to the Flemish Council for Refugees, this creates “a situation of impunity in which the government says it is doing its best, but refuses to change the behavior.” Claus hopes that the government will “come to its senses and tackle this illegal situation. Firstly to give asylum seekers a dignified existence, secondly to restore the rule of law.
This article is originally published on bruzz.be