Asylum seekers end hunger strike in church
16 March 2006, BRUSSELS — The asylum seekers that have occupied the Saint Bonifacius Church in Brussels for the past few months have temporarily ended their hunger strike.
16 March 2006
BRUSSELS — The asylum seekers that have occupied the Saint Bonifacius Church in Brussels for the past few months have temporarily ended their hunger strike.
The refugees have occupied the church since October last year and some of them started a hunger strike on 22 February and were joined by more refugees almost two weeks ago.
The asylum seekers are protesting against Belgium's immigration policy and are demanding that immigration authorities approve their request for asylum.
However, three of the hunger strikes were taken to hospital on Monday night for observation as concerns emerged about their worsening condition.
The asylum seekers were later discharged, however, and returned to the Saint Bonifacius Church in Ixelles (Elsene) where they continued their hunger strike.
But the hunger strikers decided at 2am on Thursday to suspend their hunger strike until 1 April.
They took the decision after meeting with Interior Minister Patrick Dewael, whose spokesman welcomed the decision and said the ministry could now re-examine the asylum requests free of pressure.
However, the minister's spokesman, Jo De Ro, said it would be incorrect to suggest that Dewael had not already been working to resolve the issue, stressing that regular contact had been kept with the asylum seekers in the past five weeks.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news