It's official: innocent children will be locked up in Belgium as of January 2018

15.11.2017 - Theo Francken announces that the closed centre for families with children will be operational as of January 2018.

In a few weeks, innocent children will be put behind bars for the sole reason of their or their parents' migratory status, even though Belgium had stopped this practise in 2008. This was announced by Theo Francken, Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration, in his General Policy Note of 19 October 2017.

We reiterate that detention is never in the best interests of the child, and that research has shown the negative impact of detention on children's health, development and well-being. Furthermore, a large number of experts have taken a stance against child detention, and studies show that detention doesn't improve the families' cooperation with the authorities. We are also still very preoccupied about the length of detention and about the "categories" of families that will be detained.

Once again, we urge the government to make the choice not to detain children for migration-related purposes. It is possible to have a return policy without detaining children, as it is the case in Germany of Spain. It is time to make this choice.

Because: You don't lock up a child. Period.

A campaign by

Unicef
Mineurs en exil

In collaboration with

Caritas
Ciré
Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen
JRS