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Transmigrants given space inside North Station

15:56 20/02/2019

The transmigrants who have been sleeping rough in the underground tunnel of North Station in Brussels have been given a place to stay inside the station. The situation with the migrants – most of whom are trying to make their way to the UK – had become problematic for public transport users.

Busses stop in the tunnel, and De Lijn has been complaining about the transmigrant situation for some time, even going so far as to move their stops out of the tunnel for a few days. The biggest complaint was the hygiene, as there were no toilet or waste facilities for the migrants to use.

Brussels mobility minister looked to rail service SNCB to solve the problem, while De Lijn insisted that management of the outside of the station was up to the Capital-Region. Now the region has struck a deal with the SNCB to offer a space inside the station to the migrants.

The space is cordoned off with a fence, and migrants have been given jetons to be able to use the toilets. There is also space available to associations who work with the migrants.

While there is a shelter for transmigrants in the Haren neighbourhood of northern Brussels, many migrants would rather stay in the North Station area in the hopes of reaching the UK more easily. But Schaerbeek mayor’s chief of staff told Bruzz that the council was concerned about the lack of a formal framework. “Also, three or four years ago, something similar was tried,” said the spokesperson. “It was brought to an end because of violent incidents.”

Photo: Nicolas Maeterlinck/BELGA

Written by Lisa Bradshaw