Statement from Flemish universities on hunger strike by sans-papiers

Since the end of February, undocumented migrants have occupied the premises of VUB and ULB and Brussels’ Beguinage church. Their goal is to strengthen their demand for collective regularisation of their immigration status. At the end of May, some of them began a hunger strike in support of this cause. This hunger strike has reached a critical phase, where continuing it will cause serious and permanent physical damage and endanger lives.

The medical and humanitarian urgency is particularly great. The Flemish Interuniversity Council (VLIR), as the umbrella organisation for the five Flemish universities, is calling on the government to do everything in its power to find a humane solution to this situation. VLIR also urges the activists to end their hunger strike.

VLIR is calling on the Flemish universities to examine the underlying problems within their core responsibilities of education and research and, where possible, to help find structural solutions.

The World Needs You The Vrije Universiteit Brussel assumes its scientific and social responsibility with love and decisiveness. That’s why VUB launched the platform De Wereld Heeft Je Nodig - The World Needs You, which brings together ideas, actions and projects based on six Ps. The first P stands for People , because that’s what it’s all about: giving people equal opportunities, prosperity, welfare, respect. Peace is about fighting injustice, big and small, in the world. Prosperity combats poverty and inequality. Planet stands for actions on biodiversity, climate, air quality, animal rights... With Partnership , VUB is looking for joint actions to make the world a better place. The sixth and last P is for Poincaré , the French philosopher Henri Poincaré, from whom VUB derives its motto that thinking should submit to nothing except the facts themselves. VUB is an ’urban engaged university’, strongly anchored in Brussels and Europe and working according to the principles of free research.

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