A new document informing asylum seekers about “fundamental” and “non-negotiable” Belgian norms and values will be distributed in reception centres in Belgium.
While the exact contents of the new informative rulebook have not been made public, Asylum and Migration Secretary Maggie De Block said the document would lay down basic and “non-negotiable” rules about life in the country.
The document is expected to go over concepts like freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom of religion, as well as explain principles of non-discrimination based on gender, according to Belgian media.
“It is important that asylum seekers be quickly informed about the behaviour expected from them.” De Block said. “Here, human rights are important; fondling women is not okay. We leave [same-sex couples] at peace, and everybody is free to believe what they want to believe.”
It will be of a “purely informative,” nature and would replace a now-dropped initiative to create a more binding code for people seeking asylum in the country, which was heavily criticised by humanitarian associations.
The new document is expected to facilitate the process of integration for refugees in Belgium and better prepare them for their new lives in the country once their applications are accepted, which can be months after their actual arrival on the territory.
“It is important to clearly present the basic ground rules from the start,” De Block said.