The Secretary of State in charge of asylum and migration has recently been involved in new controversies.
Theo Francken is the Belgian Secretary of State in charge of asylum and migration and also an N-VA member. He is famous all over Belgium thanks to its controversial positions and statements with regards to refugees and migrants. He has been being involved in “non-friendly” migration policies for months and years, and the NGOs are used to taking alarm about the measures he aims to implement (or those he has implemented already).
— RTL info (@rtlinfo) August 13, 2016
Tags on the residence of the PM
He was at the origin of another controversy a couple of days ago. He indeed published a post on Twitter and used the hashtag “#opkuisen”, which means “#cleaning”. He was referring to the Maximilen Park and the detention of migrants without any document. After this post was deleted, as the message was too controversial, he used the word “cleaning” again on Twitter last Thursday. The rhetoric the Secretary of State used was condemned by Charles Michel, the Belgian Prime minister, who said it was “inadequate“.
Some activists have then decided to express their strong opposition to the speeches they found aggressive. On Thursday night last week, the residence of the Prime Minister was tagged with the message “Theo, kuis DIT op” (“Theo, clean that“). Although the prosecutor opened an investigation, no was has been arrested yet.
Theo Francken with a Nazi uniform
Last but not least: the Belgian authorities have indeed welcomed a delegation from Sudan in order to identify the Sudanese migrants without documents who aimed to go to the United Kingdom. Once both authorities comply with their international obligations and law, they agreed the migrants would go back to Sudan. The international law does not prohibit such measures, but it is highly controversial and is very radical.
— Cørinne (@Coco_O) September 21, 2017
After the media made this information public, the youth section of the Belgian green party (“Ecolo J”) published a caricature on Facebook, representing Theo Francken with a Nazi uniform and a rifle, to publicly denounce the “collaboration with a President accused of Genocide“. It of course made the N-VA MPs and top executives furious, and all the N-VA MPs left the House of Representatives last Thursday while a debate on migration was supposed to be held with the Secretary of State. Theo Francken even decided to sue the “authors of the photo” before the Belgian courts.
Should you agree or not with one of both sides, you should order some popcorn. Because it seems the soap opera will continue over the coming weeks…