Some of the rejected asylum seekers who went on hunger strike in Brussels two months ago suspended their action. This confirms the Flemish State Secretary for Asylum and Migration Mahdi. The hunger strikes hoped to enforce a permanent stay in Belgium with the strike.
According to the Flemish newspaper De Standaard, the activists agree to negotiate with the Belgian government. The group of illegals would intend to resume the hunger strike if the conversation doesnt work out.
Some 400 asylum seekers in the Beguinage Church and buildings of Brussels universities VUB and ULB refused to eat since the end of May. Last Friday, some of them also stopped drinking and threatened to succumb to that. Multiple hunger and thirst strikers were transported to the hospital.
According to Flemish media, the actions in the Beguinage Church and ULB have been suspended for the time being. Whether the hunger strikers at the VUB stop is not clear. Secretary of State Mahdi writes to be relieved on Twitter: “For me, this was not a struggle against people, but for a correct policy. Hopefully no one will be left with permanent injuries.”
There is no general pardon for the group, but in some cases an exception can be made. A number of hunger strikers may receive a temporary residence permit because they urgently need medical assistance. A special procedure can be initiated for a final stay. The asylum seekers are transferred to a neutral zone set up by the Secretary of State, where the situation is assessed per individual.
The hunger strike threatened a cabinet crisis in Belgium. The ministers of the Walloon Social Democratic Party PS threatened to leave the federal government if one of the asylum seekers died. Previously, French Socialists had already criticized State Secretary Mahdi considerable and demanded Prime Minister De Croo to address the issue. Mahdi eventually appointed a special envoy to resolve the issue, but did not want to admit.