Hundreds of migrants continue hunger strike for legal status in Belgium
The migrants demand a temporary residence permit for 6 months or one year so that their applications for residence permit can be examined in depth.
In an attempt to secure legal residency, almost 500 undocumented migrants have been on hunger strike for two months in a church and two university campuses in Brussels, Belgium. Alarm about their condition is growing as hundreds of them have refused water.
The health condition of the hunger strikers is getting worse. Non-governmental organizations and left-wing parties warn that deaths can happen at any time.
Around 470 undocumented migrants have been on hunger strike since 23 May. Many of them are mostly from South Asia and North Africa. The hunger strike is being carried out at two Brussels universities and a baroque church in the heart of the city.
According to a committee supporting the strikers, the migrants demand a temporary residence permit for 6 months or one year so that their applications for residence permit can be examined in depth. The strikers want access to the labour market with the residence documents they demand.
Some of the strikers have stopped drinking water. NGOs and leftist parties are asking the government to deal with the migrants’ demand.
On Monday, two United Nations officials also urged the Belgian government to offer temporary residence permits to the hunger strikers.
COALITION GOVERNMENT MAY DISSOLVE
Tensions within the government have been escalating around the hunger strike since the beginning of the summer. The coalition government that has been in power since October 2020 is in jeopardy. Coalition partners, the Socialist Party and the environmentalist Ecolo (Écologistes Confédérés pour l'organisation de luttes originales), warned that they would walk out of the seven-party coalition in case of deaths.
DEATHS MAY HAPPEN AT ANY TIME
At the weekend, the World Doctors organization warned that “deaths may happen at any moment”, especially after 300 of the strikers refused to drink water.