Liedekerke lawyers volunteering at Legal Helpdesk for refugees to contribute to a solution for the reception crisis.
Liedekerke is a contributing firm to the Legal Helpdesk for refugees to help entitled asylum seekers that were not effectively given access to a shelter by Fedasil, get a lawyer through the existing legal assistance system (first and second line).
Volunteers of different law firms (including lawyers from Liedekerke) assist the applicant in collecting the necessary documents of the asylum seekers, provide basic information about the procedures and refer the applicant to the BAJ/BJB who consequently designate a lawyer for further legal advice and representation before the court. The designated lawyer then petitions to get the asylum seeker a shelter at Fedasil. This initiative started in the midst of the reception crisis and is being lead by DLA Piper, Freshfields and Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen. The helpdesk unfortunately noticed over the past months, that there are also women and minors seeking legal advice for getting access to shelters at the Helpdesk, all while the situation worsens for many male asylum seekers.
Many asylum seekers have been sleeping in the streets of Brussels for weeks and months now, despite the positive judgement they obtained from the Labour court that they must receive shelter from the Belgian government. Since January 2022, more than 7000 positive national decisions have been issued, but Fedasil takes aprox. 60 days to comply with these decisions (even with periodic penalty payments).
On 15 November 2022, the European Court of Human Rights (Chamber of seven judges) has asked Belgium to comply with the interim measures to provide accommodation and material assistance (“bed-bad-brood-verplichting”) to 148 asylum seekers (often with serious medical issues). These procedures were initiated on the initiative of the Legal Helpdesk, that created working groups on strategic litigation and advocacy to strenghten the contribution of lawyers to a solution for this problematic situation.
Our team of volunteers currently consists of Sam Niyonzima, Louise Janssens, David Wouters, Marie Umbach, Louise Verstraete, Charlotte Dillemans and other enthusiasts.
If you have any questions about this, do not hesitate to reach out to Louise and Sam.