As Brussels church occupation ends, migrants wrestle with results

Within a year or so, the migration process that had seized the Belgian government for a short time was coming to an end – at the request of the recipient – to stop the controversy over what had happened.

In January 2021, about 200 illegal immigrants moved to the infamous Brussels church. hoping to bring interest to their difficulties as long-term residents who could not reach the Belgian people.

Within a few months, their community activities grew so much that they began to have discussions around the world. The protesters went on a hunger strike almost broken the Belgian government is the result of international artists. Then, when the victims’ health deteriorated, the protest began to stop. Belgian officials agreed to speed up the consideration of those protesters seeking legal recognition.

After that, the work began to decline to only 20 not approved by the state left – those who lost their homes last year. Now, church officials say that St. John the Baptist Church in the 18th century in Béguinage, in central Brussels, is no longer in good condition as winter sets in. And he is urging the others to leave.

“It’s not human: there is only one toilet and one toilet, that’s all there is. And there is no heat, ”said Daniel Alliët, a priest of the church he finished his work speaking on behalf of refugees and is a member of the House of Compassion, a support organization.

However, most residents, past and present, have not received an answer to their questions. And most of the respondents were denied legal recognition. This is a result that has left some of the protesters frustrated, wondering what to do to keep the pressure going.

Coming out

In the meantime, the church’s finalists are expected to leave – a request made to peace judges, who are expected to rule in late January or early February. Church officials said they were “waiting for a solution to the problem.”

Charities and volunteers are looking after the homes of the survivors. Karen Naessens, also of the House of Compassion, said she was “confident” to get answers through a group of people who want to open their doors.

“We are always trying to find answers,” said Tarik, a Moroccan protester who is still in the church and, like other residents, declined to give his last name. “We were able to arrange for more accommodations for the delegates. During the day they come back here. ”

During the summer, the protesters took action to seek legal recognition and highlight the problems they encountered – such as the lack of social security and labor rights, the effects of the epidemic. Others sewed their own mouths. Some stopped drinking water.

However, after a few months, the request did not move as quickly as he had hoped.

Of the 442 residential applications, the government has ruled in favor of 79, including 93 people, according to figures from the office of Sammy Mahdi, Belgium’s immigration official. The government gave 24 of them a seat while rejecting the remaining 69.

Mohamed, who is still in the church, said he was one of 69 people who were denied membership. He said he was also considering famine, saying the government had failed to deliver on its promises.

A Mahdi spokesman denied the allegations, saying: “The secretary of state has been very clear about what some people are saying: There are no false promises.”

Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online.

“In politics, it’s better to have habits that go beyond normal,” Naessens said. But for a person who has nowhere else to go, it is as cruel as a place to live.

Some protesters, however, consider the church to be an important place, even after six months of working with the government.

“The Béguinage Church is our support,” said Tarik. “We are already here, in the church, and there are only bad choices [on residency applications]. When we leave, we are buried immediately.

Tarik is homeless; his mother is Belgo-Moroccan and has legal residency in Belgium. Tarik formally granted his residence permit on August 20, and police stopped at the end of October to confirm his address to his mother. But after a few months, he did not receive a final decision.

Alliët, a priest, said that these have often been the case with women who have children in school or pregnant women whose requests have been granted.

Many others did not get a police check like Tarik.

“Their address should be checked before responding to their request,” Naessens said. “For many of them, this simple step of a police officer coming to check has never happened.”

For Alliët, protesters leaving the church do not necessarily mean an end to the fighting.

He says: “They are frustrated that they can’t get to work. “But it is still important for other politicians to realize that this is not a good thing – even if it does not change directly.”

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