The NGO networks Ciré and Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen, as well as Medecins du Monde (“Doctors of the World”), reiterated their appeal, launched last week, on Tuesday. This was for the creation of a reception and guidance centre for all migrants.
They were reacting to the death of a young migrant, who was crushed on Saturday by a bus leaving the Gare du Nord in Brussels, when he tried to catch it, with a view to going to French city of Calais. The three organisations stress that the death of the young man reminds them of others, which have occurred in France and mainly in Calais. However it is the first time this has occurred in Belgium.
Ciré, Doctors of the World and Vluchtelingenwerk say that the urgency to establish a reception centre is highlighted by this dire accident. “It is unthinkable for the status quo to remain in place. One person has died. The state had and failed in its duty to help, inform and protect him.” Hundreds of migrants, such as the boy who died, are camping in the Brussels Nord district “without actual access to medical care and food, and totally unclear as to their rights and their migration status.”
As alluded to above, to resolve the situation, the organisations propose the creation in Brussels of a reception and guidance centre for all migrants. Caroline Intrand from Ciré explains, “This would be a retreat to give them somewhere to build up their strength, eat and sleep.” She stated, “It would not be a matter of having a pre-reception centre as was put in place in 2015.”
The Managing Director for Children’s Rights, Bernard De Vos, also called for the urgent creation of a welcome centre, but solely for unaccompanied minors (“MENA”) so that they have “decent living conditions.” Ciré, Doctors of the World and Vluchtelingenwerk are moreover requesting firm negotiations with the United Kingdom, “which is no longer accommodating as many immigrants as Belgium, despite having a population six times greater.”
They indicate that the organisations submitted their proposals to the Belgian authorities on July 14th, with no response to date.