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Refugee attitudes - Belgium

In 2018, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, around 80% of population growth was linked to people who migrated to #Belgium. In 2019, there was an increase in #asylumseekers seeking international protection. In 2017, however, only 20% of applicants denied international protection left the country, while the remaining 80% remained. As a result, there was an increase in populations at Belgian detention centers and shelters, which caused quite a few protests, mainly due to the high number of unaccompanied minors detained.

Theo #Francken played a significant role in the immigration and asylum process with his zero-tolerance toward “illegal” immigration within the EU. Human rights activists and several Belgian political parties called for the resignation of Theo Francken, citing his aggressive and hostile stance towards refugees from #Africa and the #MiddleEast. Opinions on Francken, however, were deeply divided. In the latest controversy, Francken recently invited Sudanese officials to Belgium to help identify “illegal” immigrants and return them to their country of origin. According to NGOs, some deportees were later reportedly tortured in #Sudan.

According to a survey of the Belgian citizens, over 50% estimated that they witnessed too many refugees, and the numbers of #newcomers were too far up. Compared to other EU states, Belgium appears to be one of the most unfriendly countries for migrants and refugees. A slight majority (52%) were convinced that it is harder to find a job due to the presence of #migrants and #refugees. Almost 60% said migration has an overall negative impact on the country. Only very few people state that migrants and refugees positively influence the development of their nation.

Generally, Belgium seems to be one of the most migration-unfriendly nations. Despite their essential role in cohesion and openness about the European Union, people show very little tolerance towards immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers.

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