Brussels’ Labour Court has sentenced Belgian authorities for not accommodating an asylum seeker, reveal the dailies Le Soir and De Standaard as well as newspapers from the Sudpresse group on Wednesday. The tangible consequence of Tuesday’s court ruling is that the Belgian government has an obligation to find shelter for every asylum seeker even before they are interviewed at the Immigration Office.
The court reckons that not fulfilling that obligation would breach European legislation and the EU Convention on Human Rights which bans inhuman treatment and torture.
This specific case concerns a 17-year-old Afghan refugee who arrived in Belgium at the end of November. He went to the Immigration Office but overcrowding kept him from being interviewed. He was given an appointment for December 17th. This document was meant to help find him a bed at the “reception centre” established by the federal government at the WTCIII building. But his attorney reveals that the centre was also overwhelmed and that there were no beds available, which led to his client having to sleep rough. He then lodged a complaint with the Labour Tribunal in Brussels. The Tribunal, then the Court, ruled in his favour and sentenced the Belgian state to pay 125 euros per day until Fedasil finds him a place in a shelter.