PARAMARIBO – The Surinamese embassy in Brussels is working with interest groups on the development of a diaspora policy aimed at Surinamese people in Belgium. For example, during a meeting with parliamentarian André Misiekaba, the embassy staff and the Suriname Diaspora Solidarity Belgium (Sudisobe) organization.

Both this organization and the Surinamese embassy informed the politician in detail about the implementation of the diaspora policy. The bottlenecks and the options were discussed in depth. A plan of approach was also discussed, which includes regular assistance to Surinamese who live illegally in Belgium and who may want to return home. Misiekaba, chairman of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs in the parliament, says that according to an estimate by the local diaspora organization, 50 percent of Surinamese in Belgium are illegal. It is not known how many of them want to return.

Sudisobe cooperates with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which, where necessary, makes money available to repatriate illegal immigrants and to guide people. “The Surinamese embassy in Belgium accommodates many Surinamese and provides diplomatic support,” says Misiekaba. Regarding Surinamese who want to return but have no shelter in their own country, Misiekaba states that the shelter should apply to “those who have been away for a long time and can no longer rely on anything here.” This issue needs to be examined further. “The Persons of Surinamese Descent Act offers room for minimum care.”

The parties agree that in order to achieve the goals of the diaspora policy, the policy must be tailored to the Belgian situation. An attempt is made to involve all segments of the Surinamese community and to enter into cooperation with Belgian and international organizations. The Surinamese representations and diaspora organizations in France and the Netherlands will also be closely involved in this. This is necessary because of the mobility of the Surinamese diaspora between these countries.