Reception of Ukrainian refugees

Johan Leman, 28 February 2022

I remember the reception at the time – I think at the end of the 70s – beginning of the 80s – of Vietnamese boat people. I still think this is one of the best and most successful reception methods that Belgium has ever realised. Via the Red Cross, families could offer to take in Vietnamese refugees. The families were asked not to place these people in a position of dependence, but to let them learn a language, guide them in their search for work, in short, to learn to organise themselves independently. If the Official Social Assistence or another institution intervened financially, the receiving families were urged, in agreement with the Red Cross, to let these people pay something for their stay.  The Red Cross was asked to visit the families and refugees from time to time to see if everything was going well. 

Why shouldn’t we be able to set up a similar system? We are not going to put these people in camps or centres run by administrations, are we?