CGRS has to judge the possibility of withdrawing the refugee status of Afghan refugees recognized by Belgium who have been evacuated from Afghanistan. This is what Minister of State for Asylum and Immigration Sami Mahdi said in parliament on Thursday.
Anyone who applies for international protection and is recognized as a refugee in our country can, in principle, go abroad. But anyone who travels to their country of origin risks losing refugee status. In any case, every trip to the home country during the first five years of residence must be reported to the municipal administration of the place of residence.
Belgium has evacuated more than 1,400 people from Afghanistan in recent days. Now nearly 1,200 people have arrived in our country from the Pakistani capital, Islamabad. This included Afghans who were granted refugee status in our country. It is not clear how many there are.
In any case, the information will be passed on to the Commissioner-General for Refugees and Stateless Persons, who must deal with the files, State Minister Mahdi said in parliament on Thursday. The Committees for National Defense and Foreign and Home Affairs meet there to obtain a text and explanation from the government on the Belgian evacuation mission from Afghanistan. “In principle, recognized refugees are not allowed to return to their countries of origin, but there are circumstances that justify this,” Mehdi said. “These people will be heard and the CGRS will then decide whether refugee status can be withdrawn.”
In mid-August, the General Commission announced a temporary and partial suspension of the processing of files from Afghans, due to the chaos in the country. The suspension will be tentatively in effect through the end of September. In practical terms, this means that no Afghans will be repatriated for the time being.
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Theo Francken, Member of Parliament for Northern Virginia, noted that Belgians who had been evacuated from Afghanistan in recent days could also bear the costs of the operation. Citizens who were in Afghanistan ignored the negative travel advice that the country’s State Department had used for years, so our country did not have to in principle evacuate them.
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