Unknown fate of Eritrean Refugees in Belgium

The Belgian asylum policy is believed to be among the best examples in Europe. This being the fact the policy looks unfair to Eritrean applicants. As the asylum applications rise, the door looks closing. The reason is yet unknown though Eritreans need protection.

Recently, a dramatic increase in number of asylum applications was recorded in Belgium like in any other European countries. From 60 to 70 asylum applicants every year, the number rose to it rose to 215 per month (July 2014). This high flux might have alerted the policy makers but considering the Eritrean case, the asylum process looks unreasonable.

It is generally true that recognition rate of Eritrean asylum is generally in all European countries is high because of the political and security situation in Eritrea and it differs from country to country in a number of factors. Italy being number one as a gateway to Europe, many Eritreans pass directly without making any finger prints and look deep inside to Europe in search of better life and protection. Belgium is the least known country to Eritreans before but as number of refugees increase, the final destiny also is expanding. It is within this context that the recent increase in number of applicants in Belgium increased but it looks unwelcomed by the government.

In consequence, the Belgian Immigration Department has blocked under the pretext of Dublin system (EU Regulation N° 603/2013, 118/2014, and EC N° 1560/2003).The aim of the system is to the ensure that one Member State is responsible for the examination of an asylum application, to deter multiple asylum claims and to determine as quickly as possible the responsible Member State to ensure effective access to an asylum procedure.

The majority of these Eritreans entered to Europe through Italy. According to European ‘Dublin’ legislation, the first country of entry is responsible for the asylum application of the person in question. But, because of the high number of refugees coming to Italy, many escape from the Italian government without giving finger print and hence they do not have any legal status. Instead, they scatter all over Europe.

The number being high and Belgium trying to apply the Dublin regulation, many refugees are in threat for their deportation back to Italy. Belgium has  already submitted a request to the Italian authorities to send back these refugees to the place where they were supposed to stay first. These refugees have no any legal status in Italy and deporting them back to a place where they did not have rights is against the Dublin regulation.

These requests are not made ​​on the basis of fingerprints or other objective information that demonstrates that the individuals were registered in Italy, but based on mere statements of refugees who confessed themselves that they have come crossing Italy to Belgium. In practice, whether the Italian authorities respond positively or not to the request made by Belgium, the process is missing the overall objectives of the Dublin system.

According to reports, Italy has limited time to respond to the request. If Italy did not respond then it will be Italy’s responsibility to handle the asylum request of the Eritreans. If Belguim did not consider its case, the refugees will be forced to be deported back to Italy.

Meanwhile, the Eritreans are waiting uncertain fate.

Source:

  1. http://www.cgvs.be/nl/binaries/Asielstatistieken_september_2014_Extern_tcm127-256490.pdf
  2. http://www.mo.be/opinie/eritrese-vluchtelingen-betalen-het-gelag
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