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    Maximilian Park refugee platform wins democracy prize

    ©Said Al-Haddad via Twitter
    ©Said Al-Haddad via Twitter

    The group of volunteers who have run the camp for refugees in the Maximilian Park in Brussels for the last couple of years has been awarded the Prize for Democracy by an independent jury sponsored by non-profit organisations. The park happens to be situated close to the Office for Foreigners, where asylum seekers have to report to register their requests. Because of its proximity, it became a place where asylum-seekers would camp. Later, local volunteers began to organise camping materials and food for the residents. Those organisations have now been recognised by the city of Ghent.

    “The impressive level of solidarity shown by thousands of citizens is an important response to the failure of the asylum policy of the federal government,” the jury said.

    The award has been given since 1992. It was given out on Saturday in Ghent.

    At the same time, a prize named for the late moral philosopher Jaap Kruithof, awarded to a radical thinker or organisation in the field of social movements, was awarded to Jan De Maeseneer, professor of general practice at the university of Ghent, for his work on social medicine.

    Alan Hope
    The Brussels Times