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Forest is best municipality in Brussels for sans-papiers

16:24 21/09/2018

Forest is the most hospitable municipality in Brussels when it comes to the wellbeing of undocumented immigrants and asylum-seekers. The assessment was made by the Brussels-based Centre national de Coopération au Développement (CNCD), a watchdog group that monitors and challenges governments on national and international solidarity issues.

Following a campaign launched by CNCD on the plight of sans-papiers and refugees in Brussels, 13 of the 19 municipalities pledged to work together to address their needs. CNCD has now named Forest as the municipality that has best fulfilled that promise.

The city has, for instance, devoted a CPAS, or social welfare, department to health care for this group of people. “It’s difficult to solve the shortcomings of the federal level at the local level,” Forest CPAS chair Stéphane Roberti told La Dernière Heure. “We have made everything as accessible as possible, including setting up an urgent care team.”

Forest has also opened up empty buildings and, during the summer, boarding schools to homeless sans-papiers and is looking into making it possible for children of undocumented parents to attend school.

Photo: A protest earlier this year demanding respect for sans-papiers
©Nicolas Maeterlinck/BELGA

Written by Lisa Bradshaw