News and Views
Belgium to deport 586 ‘fake’ Senegalese asylum seekers
Belgian authorities have announced they will deport 586 “fake” Senegalese asylum seekers, most of them youths whose asylum requests have been rejected.
The youths are said to have been manipulated by unscrupulous conmen who are making windfall profits from the illegal transactions.
About 534 of the asylum seekers entered the country in 2012 while 52 others were registered in January this year alone, sources said.
The director of Belgium’s office for immigration, Mr Freddy Rosemont, explained that the questionable asylum seekers claimed they were fleeing discrimination and persecution due to their “cultural background.”
Essentially they were insinuating that they were from the southern Casamance region where the majority ethnic Joola people are fighting a secessionist war against Senegal.
In a bid to stave off the rush of asylum seekers, Mr Rosemont told a press conference in Belgium on Tuesday that his department was introducing stricter regulations including shortening the process of examining applications.
That will mean shortening the temporary resident status granted to applicants such that those rejected will almost immediately face deportation.
In the past when such applications got rejected, the candidates would continue living in the country clandestinely as their numbers swelled, the Belgian official explained.
He said his country was open to immigrants but insisted legal residence could only be obtained through valid arrangements.
Belgium’s ambassador to Senegal, Mr Johan Verkammen, promised to work with the host government in resolving the asylum problem.