Laurie Dieffembacq

One-year residence permit for Mawda’s family

The parents and brother of Mawda, a two-year-old toddler shot dead by police, are getting a temporary residence permit in Belgium.  Belgian asylum minister Maggie De Block (Flemish liberal) has approved a regularisation of the family‘s situation on humanitarian grounds.  The residence permit will be valid for one year, but can be renewed.

Mawda was killed during a police chase.  The toddler was travelling in a minivan together with her family and other migrants.

Last June Mawda's parents applied for a regularisation of their stay on humanitarian grounds.  Asylum minister De Block has now approved this request in consultation with other government ministers.  Ms De Block's office says that the family is receiving a humanitarian visa that will allow the parents to follow the judicial investigation in a serene fashion.

The asylum minister told VRT News: "I only award a humanitarian visa in exceptional circumstances and for very specific cases.  This family meets all the requirements.  Mawda was shot in front of her parents' and little brother's eyes and died in their arms.  They lost a child in exceptional circumstances.  Losing a child is the worst thing that a human being can experience.  The judicial investigation into who was responsible is still underway."

The awarding of a humanitarian visa to Mawda's family is contested by Theo Francken, Ms De Block's Flemish nationalist predecessor at asylum and migration.