Júlia Zomignani Barboza and Lisa Feirabend worked on a contribution to the Migration Conference 2021 on how COVID-19 affected the fundamental rights of migrants and asylum seekers in Belgium.
Focusing on two categories of vulnerable migrants – namely asylum seekers and detainees – they explore how asylum seekers’ access to the reception network was affected by the online registration system that was put in place at the beginning of the sanitary crisis and how detainees saw their visits stop completely for months during the first wave of the virus and had their visitations restricted during the second lockdown.
The online system was deemed illegal by the francophone tribunal of first instance of Brussels and thus in person registration was restated in October 2020. Restrictions to visits to detention centres, however, are still in place.
With the benefit of hindsight, Júlia and Lisa identify best practices and recommendations for future action in Belgium.