Tech & Rights

Belgium Set to Deport Sick Rwandan Boy

Joël, 5 years old, suffers from bone dysplasia and must remain under medical supervision. But he is facing deportation to Rwanda, where his medical needs cannot be met.

by David Morelli

Joël is five years old. He arrived in Belgium in 2010 on a medical visa because he suffers from bone dysplasia, a disease that requires numerous medical procedures throughout childhood. He has undergone many serious procedures and his treatment is still on going, and his doctors have said that he should remain under constant medical supervision.

Joël’s doctors have also said that his medical care and supervision should continue in Belgium, and Kigali doctors confirmed during the boy’s visa application process that the necessary medical infrastructure to ensure his proper care does not exist in Rwanda.

Despite this, the Aliens Office (AO) of Belgium decided to begin deportation proceedings against Joël and his mother two years after their arrival. The Council for Alien Disputes and the Supreme Court annulled the first measures of refusal and deportation, but the two are now set to be returned.

Office problems

The Aliens Office has once again demonstrated its unwillingness to undertake a careful review of a residence permit application for medical reasons. The multiple failures that undermine this process result in a ridiculously low success rate —1.64 percent, according to the 2013 activity report of the AO, while it was close to 10 percent a few years ago.

It should also be noted that the AO has recently made five consecutive refusal decisions, each of them overturned one after another by the Council for Alien Disputes, but still the AO’s position does not change. The situation is so serious that the ombudsman’s office has taken up the matter and will publish the results of its investigation by the end of the year.

Sign the petition

The League of Human Rights has been working on this issue for several years and will produce its report in the fall. It will present findings, recommendations and requests.

But for Joël it may be too late. That is why we invite everyone to mobilize, for Joel and many others, and demonstrate our displeasure with current migration policies.

We call on the competent authorities to reconsider their decision. Can we accept that the basic human rights of any person, especially those of a 5-year-old child, can be violated to such an extent without doing anything?

Sign the petition for the regularization of Joël and his mom!