Hunger strikers forcibly taken to hospital
29 May 2006, BRUSSELS — All of the hunger strikers in the Brussels refugee shelter Klein Kasteeltje/Petit Chateau were taken to hospital on Monday due to their critical health condition.
29 May 2006
BRUSSELS — All of the hunger strikers in the Brussels refugee shelter Klein Kasteeltje/Petit Chateau were taken to hospital on Monday due to their critical health condition.
The decision was taken by the Federal Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (Fedasil) in consultation with Social Integration Minister Christian Dupont for humanitarian, medical and hygiene reasons.
A total of 71 asylum seekers were staging a hunger strike in the refugee shelter. Some of them had not eaten for the past 35 days.
A prolonged hunger strike can cause serious and permanent physical and psychological problems and even death.
The medical service of Fedasil and the Brussels refugee shelter made a final attempt on Monday morning to convince the hunger strikers to voluntarily go to hospital.
Some 15 protestors relented, but the final group of hunger strikers was forcibly transferred to hospital on Monday afternoon.
Those in the most critical condition were evacuated by ambulance. In total, 12 ambulances were required. The other protestors were taken to city hospitals by bus.
The evacuation occurred in co-operation with Brussels police and the Red Cross. Some 71 asylum seekers were taken to hospital.
Every hunger striker underwent a thorough medical and psychological examination.
Once they have received the necessary medical treatment, the asylum seekers will be allowed to return to Klein Kasteeltje/Petit Chateau on condition that they do not resume their protest.
Fedasil stressed that the medical and hygienic conditions in the refugee shelter were intolerable and that the centre is not the correct place to stage a hunger strike.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news