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Hunger strikers in Belgium “in bad shape”

Published on 07/04/2009

Five doctors who are voluntarily helping the asylum seekers who have no official papers and are on hunger strike have raised the alarm on their health. According to the doctors a number of the hunger strikers are in very bad shape. They have written a letter to all of the federal ministers.

A group of asylum seekers who do not have official papers started camping out at the Brussels Flemish University VUB in December. A month and a half later they started a hunger strike. They are demanding clarity on their situation in Belgium.

According to Dr Dirk Devroey, working at Brussels University, a number of the hunger strikers are in a dire condition and risk irreparable damage to their bodies.

"The weight loss is considerable amongst all the hunger strikers," says Dr Devroey. "We’ve seen some problems in kidney function for some of the people as well as muscle deterioration. This is dangerous and can cause a shut down of the whole body."

The hunger strikers are also more susceptible to heart problems as well. The doctors are said to be "very concerned" and are considering the hospitalisation of some of the hunger strikers.