Monday, 19 December 2016
Asylum seekers and related associations protested yesterday afternoon (Sunday) at the Brussels Gare du Nord train station. They called for a more humane asylum procedure. The event ‘Human Being Voice’ was supported by a number of state aid organisations.
These included Cinemaximiliaan, Friends Without Borders, and the CIRE organisation (asylum seeker support organisations). Also present were representatives from the MRAX (an anti-racism organisation) and Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen (supporting asylum seekers in Flemish speaking Belgium).
“We are all people from Afghanistan and Iraq seeking asylum in Belgium,” stated one of the organisers. “We wish to thank those supporting us but also make people understand how we have suffered. We do not feel that we are being treated as human beings. Our families are homeless. The authorities tell us that we’re not welcome here. ”
The organiser went on, “The asylum procedures drag on and we are not getting the treatment to which we have a right. Unfortunately there is no way that we can go back to where we came from, otherwise we would not still be here. We are not asking for much, simply a chance to be allowed to live and contribute something to Belgian society.”
One particular Iraqi asylum seeker said, “My name is Abdallah. I am 22 years old and I have spent 15 months in Belgium. My brother needs psychological help and is recognised as an asylum seeker although I am not. How am I supposed to look after him now?”
“This is not the Belgium we want”, comments Serge, in his 60s and active within one of the associations. He goes on, “This is not the society in which we want to live. This government is operating a discriminatory, racist and repressive policy towards immigrants and refugees.”
The Brussels Times