Call to let long-term asylum seekers stay
22 November 2005, BRUSSELS — Asylum seekers who have been waiting for years for Belgian residence status should not be deported, Socialist PS leader Elio Di Rupo has said.
22 November 2005
BRUSSELS — Asylum seekers who have been waiting for years for Belgian residence status should not be deported, Socialist PS leader Elio Di Rupo has said.
The statement was an important signal on the eve of a federal government debate on reforming the nation's asylum procedures.
"It is inhumane to order deportations if the decision to refuse [residence] comes years after the application for asylum," Di Rupo said.
Interior Minister Patrick Dewael has refused to grant a general amnesty for everyone who has been waiting long-term for their application for asylum to be processed. Some of these people are still being deported.
However, whoever wants to avoid being repatriated has a chance of staying if they lodge an individual request for official residence status, newspaper 'De Standaard' reported on Tuesday.
The Francophone Di Rupo is otherwise in agreement with Flemish Liberal VLD Minister Dewael and his plans to reform asylum procedures.
Flemish refugee lobby group Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen, Amnesty International and the Minderhedenforum (Minorities Forum) have backed Dewael's plans.
However, they were highly critical of plans to make conditions for granting asylum stricter. The government wants to reduce the number of asylum seekers entering Belgium.
"For several years, we had 40,000 applications for asylum, now there are 15,000, but that is still unacceptably high for the minister," Vluchtelingenwerk
director Pieter De Gryse said.
"He thinks that Belgium must be just as unattractive as neighbouring countries and is placing investigations [of applications] in danger with his asylum [procedure] reforms."
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Belgian news