Under pressure, the Belgian government reached out to 450 undocumented migrants on hunger strike for two months in Brussels.
Fearing an imminent tragedy, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo has apparently softened his position, even though he claims that“a government can never accept blackmail”.
These 450 migrants in an irregular situation, mostly from Morocco and Algeria, are asking for residence permits with access to the labor market. The government’s latest proposals were explained to the Undocumented Support Committee, and the hunger strike was suspended Wednesday afternoon.
According to the NGO Doctors of the World, 300 of them also started a thirst strike on July 16, they also ended it yesterday.
“It was the only right decision to take” according to the Prime Minister who deplores the fact that people had to be hospitalized and that some of them are still in intensive care.
To negotiate residence permits, the support committee highlighted the past years of these illegal immigrants in Belgium who worked and work in sectors lacking manpower such as construction, catering or cleaning.
But what undoubtedly pushed the government to react after weeks of deadlock is the recent visit of two UN experts who were concerned about the deterioration in the state of health of some hunger strikers. and thirst, especially among the 250 or so accommodated in this Brussels church, one of the three occupied sites in the Belgian capital.