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Belgium in Brief: Ending The Hunger Strike

Credit: Belga

After almost two months, more than 400 undocumented people living in Brussels ended their hunger strike, for the time being.

In a bid to get collective regularisation, the migrants had been striking since the end of May, but the action only gained real momentum across Belgium – and abroad – after four of the people on strike had their mouths sewn shut.

As the situation of the hunger strikers worsened, and some announced they would also begin a thirst strike, some government parties even threatened to leave the federal government “within the hour” if one migrant died.

However, on Wednesday, the migrant announced that they would make their way to the neutral zone, which was set up by Secretary of State for Migration Sammy Mahdi, as part of his efforts to mitigate the situation.

Mahdi himself reacted to the provisional end of the hunger strike with relief.

“For me, this was not a fight against people, but for the right policy,” he said on Twitter. “Hopefully, no one will be permanently injured by this.”

However, Madi stressed that there still will not be a policy change.

“I have had many meetings with them, to inform them about how we conduct policy. We made it clear to them that the policy will not change, and that they should realise that a hunger strike will not help,” he said.

He emphasised that the only promise the government can make now is that all files will be treated “individually and with humanity,” and that an answer will be given very quickly.

What do you think? Let @johnstonjules know. Or @maithechini, since she wrote it today.

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