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Mayor orders destruction of child asylum seeker tents

Mayor orders destruction of child asylum seeker tents

Belgium’s asylum system is struggling to
cope with the influx.  Last week the asylum
agency failed in its duty to provide accommodation for all asylum seekers who
had registered with the Belgian authorities and for the first time even
unaccompanied minors and families with children were not given accommodation. Today
it emerged that on the instruction of the mayor of Brussels police officers
destroyed cardboard tents that volunteers had built to provide some shelter for
unaccompanied minors.

Dozens of unaccompanied minors and families
with children are having to fend for themselves on the streets of Brussels
despite having registered as asylum seekers. 

Yesterday the authorities failed to find
accommodation for eleven unaccompanied minors. 
Aid organisations have attempted to provide alternative accommodation,
but they are no longer succeeding in providing a bed for everybody.  Youngsters can visit the humanitarian hub
where food, clothes and medical care is provided, but it closes at 7PM.

In order to help children who faced a night
out on the streets volunteers built cardboard tents to provide some shelter on
the pavement outside the hub, but the Mayor of Brussels, Philippe Close
(Francophone socialist), ordered police officers to dismantle the constructions:
“We can’t accept children having to sleep out on the streets” he said.  “This goes against our values.  We cannot permit this on our territory”.

Aid workers couldn’t believe their eyes
when they saw police officers trash the cardboard tents.  “The authorities are not providing
accommodation, no bath and no food.  The
children are dropped on the streets and now they are being chased from the
streets.  Where are they supposed to
sleep?” one volunteer asked.

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