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Sans-papiers march planned for this weekend in Brussels

Photo by Juliana Romão on Unsplash

Sans-papiers, an organisation that represents and advocates for undocumented migrants in Belgium, is planning a march in Brussels this coming Sunday.

Participants will be marching on 3 October as part of a broader campaign called “We are Belgium, too.”

Sans-papiers is demonstrating to demand that a national regulatory commission be established in regards to undocumented migration, and calls for the integration of undocumented migrants into the Belgian rule of law.

“This is the best way to make them contribute with dignity to the social security system and also to put a stop to the attempts of certain parties that surf on fears to impose their dictates on asylum and migration,” the organisation said.

“It is undeniable that after the pandemic and the floods that we have just experienced together, Belgium now needs everyone’s contribution to rebuild. We cannot revive the country’s economy by allowing social fraud born of undeclared work and the exploitation of undocumented workers to continue.”

They point out that the Covid-19 pandemic has increased the difficulties faced by undocumented migrants in Belgium, and say that the issue hasn’t been in the spotlight since the end of a hunger strike this summer, after which nothing changed.

“This human mess is still going on in our cities without any sign of improvement, while the government that is supposed to find a sustainable solution is composed of liberals who, supposedly, advocate an evolution towards more freedom and openness, and socialists and ecologists, who all claim to be progressive and therefore supporters of an inclusive European society based on freedom, equality, solidarity, diversity and equity,” they said.

“The worst thing is that their asylum and migration policy is still not conducive to any progress in terms of freedom of movement or integration of undocumented migrants in the Belgian rule of law.”

The organisation is asking specifically for three recommendations to be considered:

  • “The regularisation of undocumented migrants in Belgium on the basis of clear and permanent criteria, such as durable ties, work, ineligibility and the risk of infringement of a fundamental right in the event of return; and the creation of an independent regularisation commission.
  • The abolition of the closed centres [Note: detainment centres for undocumented migrants], which have done nothing for the well-being of Belgians
  • The respect of human rights and in particular the rights of undocumented children, in the same way as those of all children, starting with effective and equal access to education, family life and a decent standard of living.”

Scheduled to start at 2:00 PM at the Brussels North Station, the march has already been authorised by police.

Its route will run from Brussels North Station to Brussels Central Station, crossing boulevard du Roi Albert II, rue Botanique, l’avenue Pachécol and boulevard de l’Impératricee.

Marches will also be held in other large cities throughout Belgium. Participants are asked to wear face masks in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

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