Annual Gathering with Embassies&Consulates
Brussels - On 11 December, IOM and Fedasil have organized the annual gathering with Embassies and Consulates at the Fedasil premises. The purpose of this gathering was to further enhance the existing collaboration with Embassies and Consulates within the frame of the Voluntary Return Programme, supported by the Belgian Government since 1984 and currently managed by Fedasil. It was a successful meeting with more than 60 participants and 38 countries represented.
The event started with opening speeches from Mr. Luxen (Fedasil Director General) and Mr. Reyntjens (Chief of mission, IOM Brussels).
Mr. Luxen highlighted the participation, this year, of the Dutch and Luxembourg delegations. He reflected on the current situation of the Belgian reception network and the role of Fedasil within the framework of voluntary return of asylum seekers and irregular migrants outside the reception structures. He particularly stressed the important role of Embassies and Consulates, as Fedasil’s partners, in terms of issuing the travel documents necessary for organising a return.
Mr. Reyntjens focused on the excellent relationship between IOM Brussels and embassies, given IOM's international mandate and presence in over 100 countries. He mentioned the direct assistance IOM gives to migrants and explained some of IOM’s core activities in Belgium. He also gave an overview of migration issues throughout the year. 2015 has been an incredibly busy year, with different migration drama’s and pressing issues. He expressed the need for cooperation and dialogue on a global diplomatic level. To end on a positive note he introduced the Worldwide Candlelight Vigil that will be held on International Migrants Day (December 18) and the link to the #Iamamigrant campaign. He stated that the vigil is ‘a renewed opportunity to increase awareness on drivers of migration, and most importantly shift the narrative of migration towards a positive recognition of the many was migrants contribute to host societies’.
After both speeches the participants were invited to have a look at the IOM, Fedasil, ERIN and Caritas stands where representatives of the respective organizations were present to give further explanations. The session was closed with a walking cocktail.