Approximately 100 undocumented migrants from the Ebola association (Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia) staged a protest near the office of Prime Minister Charles Michel on Monday. They hoped to meet Mr. Michel and to ask him to adopt a clear policy on the deportation of people born in countries affected by the epidemic. “The Immigration Office thinks there is nothing wrong with sending people back to countries affected by the Ebola epidemic, and that all they have to do once there is follow simple public health guidelines. Unfortunately the epidemic is still not under control. Considering the measures taken by the government to protect Belgians, at every level where contact is possible between a Belgian citizen and someone from an affected country, in order to avoid any possibility of contamination, there is an obvious double standard in place,” pointed out Alexis Andries, spokesperson for Pigment, a non-profit organisation.
“The Immigration Office has never taken the problem seriously, and Theo Francken (Secretary of State for Asylum, Migration and Administrative Simplification) has never clearly stated his position on the subject. Where it is possible to deport someone from an affected country via a third country, Belgium has no qualms about deporting that person. Today we hoped to meet Prime Minister Charles Michel to hear more about the position of the government and of Belgian authorities,” he added.
Forced expulsions of immigrants from Belgium directly to African countries affected by Ebola were suspended last August to protect policemen and women in charge of escorting the deportees.