Over 60 asylum seekers face eviction from Tours & Taxis squat

Over 60 asylum seekers face eviction from Tours & Taxis squat
Credit: Pepijn Kennis

A group of asylum seekers will be evicted on Monday from the building they have been staying at alongside Brussels' canal on Avenue du Port, Le Soir reports. The 60 or so asylum seekers had found shelter there after having previously been evacuated from the tents they were sleeping in. 

As part of a growing number of asylum seekers sleeping in these tents outside of the Petit Château centre in Molenbeek-Saint-Jean, they had not been rehoused by authorities after the emergency evacuation that occurred a couple of weeks ago. 

The asylum seekers had thus decided to occupy a building near the Tours & Taxis site but now face the threat of once again sleeping on the streets after being issued an eviction notice on Friday by regional authorities.

The Region of Brussels-Capital, which owns the occupied warehouse, joined forces with the City of Brussels municipality to "tell us that the former occupants will be taken in by Fedasil," Yan Verhoeven - a volunteer helping out asylum seekers in Belgium - told Le Soir.

However, "this would only total to about 15 people living in the building on Avenue du Port," according to Verhoeven, which would leave "around 50 people without a solution", as no "satisfactory" rehousing measures had been presented to them.

Moreover, The Brussels Times received reports that city staff sent by the Brussels Government were already drilling holes into the premises, which would render the building uninhabitable.

The evection notice also comes at an especially bad time for the country's authorities after the Federal Government reached an agreement on Thursday over migration and the administration of asylum seekers in Belgium. 

Belgian ministers had been under increasing pressure to shoulder some responsibility for the country's reception crisis, for which the Belgian State has already been convicted.

In an attempt to tackle the issue head-on, federal authorities had organised the evacuation of makeshift shelters and rehousing of asylum seekers in recent weeks. Set up in the previous year due to the reception crisis, these included the so-called Schaerbeek squat as well as tents alongside the capital's canal in Molenbeek-Saint-Jean.

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Having now prepared a legislative framework to deal with the reception crisis, the Belgium Government hoped to avoid "seeing any more distressing situations," the State Secretary of Asylum and Migration Nicole de Moor stated on Tuesday.

But after Friday's scenes at Avenue du Port, many of those representing asylum seekers have been left asking how much the government's latest agreement will help resolve the current situation.

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