Luxembourg's emergency accomodation centre for refugees is almost empty
239 migrants with no chance of receiving asylum in Luxembourg have stayed at the government's "emergency accommodation structure in Kirchberg" (SHUK) since its opening on April 1.
The new centre, which the government started setting up at the beginning of the year because the regular refugee shelters were overburdened, was set up in the former Hall 6 of the exhibition halls in Kirchberg.
The centre houses migrants whose asylum claims have no chance of being approved and are therefore to be returned to their home countries or to the first European countries where they had submitted their application for asylum.
However, not all migrants who stayed in the centre could be brought out of the country: 37 people never showed up at all and another 113 left the SHUK and never returned.
"Those who do not appear despite a summons, or those who leave the centre and do not return, will be immediately reported to the police," Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn told journalists on Tuesday.
If the police can find them, they are brought to the "Centre de rétention" (detention centre) until their final deportation, because they are in the country illegally. The "Centre de rétention" also manages the SHUK.
The SHUK is designed as a semi-open structure, which means the occupants are not locked in. They can leave the centre between 8am and 8pm. They only have to spend the night in the hall.
The hall, which used to be an emergency welcome centre for refugees before the end of 2016, is pretty empty at the moment.
On Tuesday, only 59 men were living in SHUK, according to Asselborn. Most of them are so-called "Dubliners," who had already requested protection in other European countries. Many of them come from Morocco, Georgia, Algeria or Albania.
After the hall was turned from an emergency welcome centre to an emergency accommodation structure, the hall was newly furnished. Today, there are a total of four blocks separated from each other to give the rejected asylum seekers a little more intimacy. In each block there are four or five tents, each with twelve beds. At full occupancy the SHUK offers space for 216 people.
Wifi connections are available in the tents as well as power sockets for charging mobile phones.
Directly in front of the halls are the sanitary facilities and the containers with the washing machines and the dryers, which the occupants can use at any time. In addition to the tents, there is also a lounge where they can play table tennis or table football.
"There have not been any major incidents since April," explains Nora Scholtes, the director of the SHUK. Overall, everyday life in the centre runs smoothly, she says.
143 asylum seekers in June
During the SHUK visit, Asselborn also announced the latest numbers of refugees.
In June, 143 people applied for asylum, 56 fewer than in May. Since the beginning of the year, immigration authorities have registered 1,211 refugees. 57 came from Africa, 35 from Asia and 51 from different European countries. The largest nationality groups were Albanians (18), followed by Serbs (15) and Syrians (15).
The refugee influx from Syria has noticeably decreased and only two asylum seekers came from Iraq and Afghanistan. Over the entire year, however, the Syrians are still the largest refugee group with 200 applicants.
Since January, immigration authorities have closed 1,848 dossiers. 475 people were recognised as refugees (25.7 per cent). 351 applicants were denied the refugee status. 861 persons fell under the Dublin III Agreement, which means they are sent back to the countries where they had asked for asylum for the first time.
(By Danielle Schumacher, translated from German by Barbara Tasch)