Belgium

Number of people served: 607

JRS Belgium was born out of the cooperation of people who took up the cause of those living on the edge and at the borders of our society. Father Jadot, S.J. supported by Xavier Dijon S.J. came together with a few others in Belgium in the 1980s to develop a response to a critical situation in Namur where refugees were in need.

As the number of refugees arriving in Belgium continued to increase, the then Jesuit Fathers of the Flemish provinces and the Southern part of the country requested that a Belgian bilingual section of the JRS be created in Brussels: the Jesuit Refugee Service Belgium. Soon after, visits to refugees and forced migrants in closed detention centers became a focal point. The team has access to and visits four of the five closed centers every week, listens to the detainees, offers them mental and psychological support, gives them information, and advocates for their rights.’

Our Work in Belgium

Since 2013, Belgium has a structural resettlement program, which means the country offers yearly protection to a number of vulnerable refugees. Since this date, 2,885 refugees have been resettled in Belgium, among them 2,535 Syrian refugees and 315 Congolese refugees. In 2018, 714 refugees arrived in Belgium in the frame of the resettlement program.

The JRS team visits four of the five closed centers every week, listens to the detainees, offers mental and psychological support, provides information, and advocates for their rights.

In 2017, 19 asylum seekers were served by JRS staff and a total of 98 volunteers assisted in projects.

In 2018, 714 refugees arrived in Belgium under the scope of the resettlement program.

Refugees in transit passing through Eastern Europe.
Brigitte from Brussels, left, and Flavia, right, a forced migrant from East Africa, watch Netflix together in Brigitte’s apartment. (Jesuit Refugee Service)

Contact

JRS Belgium Country Director

Baudouin Van Overstraeten

Contact info:

Rue Maurice Liétart, 31/9B -115 0 Brussels

Project locations:

Centers for illegal residents in Bruges, Merksplas, and Vottem, repatriation centre 127bis in Steenokkerzeel, “Caricole” transit centre in Steenokkerzeel

Visit JRS Belgium's Website