Brussel North Station now free of transit migrants

For the first time in many months the ground floor of the building that houses Brussel North Railway Station is free of people (mostly transit migrants) sleeping rough there. The transit migrants are migrants that are in Belgium illegally and are not interested in applying for asylum here. Instead they are in Belgium as a stop-off en route to their final destination, the United Kingdom. On Thursday evening the transit migrants were taken to a number of reception centres in and around Brussels.   

Over the past few weeks the issue of transit migrants at Brussels North Station has hit the headlines again. Hygiene and security issues have led to the Flemish public transport company De Lijn no longer serving the bus stops under the station. The Brussels public transport company MIVB also changed the termini of two of its bus routes from Brussels North to an alternative location near-by. A couple of weeks ago a reporter from the Francophone commercial television station RTL-TVI was attacked by one of the people sleeping rough at the station. 

Of the 140 beds made available, 60 are being provided by the Red Cross, 40 by the Brussels help for the homeless association Samusocial and 40 by the Citizens’ Platform for Support to Refugies.

As many as 200 transit migrants and homeless people were sleeping rough in the area on the ground floor of the CCN Building that houses the railway station. This area is currently clear of rough-sleepers.  

Mehdi Kassou of the Citizens’ Forum told the Brussels regional news platform Bruzz that “No places were found for between 50 and 60 people. We don’t know where they have gone, but they are probably somewhere near to the station. The station itself is completely empty.    

60 of the 140 extra beds are being provided by the Red Cross at its facility in the Trierstraat in the heart of Brussels European District.

The Red Cross’ Nancy Ferroni told journalists that “Of the 60 places 57 were taken straight away”.