Around 167 migrants occupying the building of the NGO Action Damien in Jette, Brussels, need to vacate the premises after the Justice of the Peace issued an eviction order on 21 October, the NGO announced on Friday.
The migrants have eight days to find a new place to live, Bruzz reports. Most of them are transitory migrants, though some are asylum seekers or homeless people from Brussels.
About fifteen migrants who were previously in the Maximilian Park entered the building on 19 March, at the start of the lockdown to curb the spread of the new coronavirus, growing to around forty in a few days. The group continued to grow this summer and autumn.
“We could no longer tolerate the situation of these people, who live in insalubrious conditions, without heating, with a lack of equipment for hygiene and little electricity,” said Alex Jaucot, general director of Action Damien.
“On 10 September, MSF (Doctors Without Borders) contacted us to inform us that there were several cases of Covid-19 in the area. Some people were isolated and, fortunately, no one was seriously ill. Ten days ago, other people were declared positive.”
“This is a poignant situation that needs to be urgently stopped, above all in the interest of the squatters themselves.” said Ludo Van den Kerckhove, CEO of Action Damien.
“This decision gives the competent authorities the opportunity to take the necessary steps to accommodate the squatters in a proper environment,” he added.
Action Damien is a Belgian medical and development NGO founded in 1964 to fight leprosy, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases such as leishmaniasis.
The Brussels Times