Maggie De Block is wrong to present migrants as abusing asylum system, says association

Maggie De Block is wrong to present migrants as abusing asylum system, says association
The newspaper apologised and retracted the article, but several screen captures are still circulating. Credit: Belga

Asylum seekers targeted by Minister Maggie De Block’s latest measures are being wrongly presented as abusing the asylum process or system, CIRé, an association that conducts and coordinates initiatives for refugees and migrants, said on Tuesday.

With the network of reception centres reaching saturation point, Asylum and Migration Minister Maggie De Block announced on Saturday that two categories of applicants for international protection would now be excluded from the centres.

The first are migrants to whom the so-called Dublin Procedure applies. These are people who enter the European Union through a designated State responsible for their application for protection, then request protection from Belgium.

“Contrary to the minister’s assertions, these applicants are neither fraudsters or abusers. Under the Dublin rules, they have a right to request asylum in Belgium and, therefore, to be received in the network of Fedasil,” the agency in charge of providing them with accommodation and assistance, CIRé added.

The other category targeted by the measures is made up of people already awarded protected status in another European State. According to CIRé, they apply for protection in Belgium “because they are not safe in that country or face heavy discrimination there.”

Such applicants can receive a new protection status if they can prove that living conditions in the State where they were granted status constitute inhuman and degrading treatment contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights.

The association argues that people in these two categories do not abuse the asylum process. Moreover, it is up to the Office of the General Commissioner for Refugees and Stateless Persons, CGRA, and not the reception centres, to decide on their need for protection after examining each individual’s file.

The Brussels Times

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