Using an article in Belgian law that grants terminally-ill foreigners residency if they cannot get comparable medical treatment in their home country, Epis appealed the decision but the authorities rejected the bid, saying medical reports suggested Joel was unlikely to suffer unduly if he returned to Rwanda.
“If we are sent back to Rwanda then my son will die,” Epis said. “The same quality of medical treatment cannot be provided in Rwanda.”
Joel is currently being treated at a children’s hospital in Brussels and has already undergone several operations.
His potential deportation comes as the EU is struggling to save migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea.
The European Commission plans to resettle 40,000 Eritrean and Syrian migrants across the 28-member bloc in a move criticized by several member states, including Germany and France.