Belgium does not want to become attractive for refugees, says activist
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Due to the lack of accommodation, 21 refugee children in Belgium, who fell under the category of unaccompanied asylum seekers since they are under the age of 18, were left to sleep on the streets.
The housing situation at the reception center for asylum seekers has gotten worse in recent weeks because of a spike in asylum applications.
Fedasil is the federal agency in charge of processing applications for asylum seekers.
Lengthy lines can be seen outside the Petit Chateau, where the offices of Fedasil are located in Brussels, the EU capital.
"People spend the night on the street in the biting cold," Sotieta Ngo, director of the non-profit organization Coordination Initiatives for Refugees and Foreigners (CIRE) said.
There is an alternative solution in Belgian law. Local aid systems of municipalities can be activated, but there is no political will.
"Belgium does not want to become attractive for refugees," she added.
Ten leading NGOs in Belgium, including CIRE, took the issue to court.
On Jan. 19, the Brussels Principal Civil Court ordered Fedasil to pay a fine of €5,000 per working day in which at least one person is not given a place to stay or an asylum application is not received.
While refugees from Asia and Africa received a cold response, Belgium fast tracked the applications of Ukrainians -- subsequently giving them the right to residency and work permits, as well as access to social welfare, housing, and livelihood advantages.
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