The bill from the Secretary of State for Asylum concerning the return policy was voted on in committee today. It now ensures that the ban on the confinement of children is anchored in law. For environmentalists, who have raised this demand for a long time with civil society, this realization is an important victory!

“A few years ago, thousands of citizens mobilized against the confinement of children in closed centers. Finally, this practice will now be prohibited in law. It is an environmentalist victory but above all a victory for the democratic values of our country. Belgium thus becomes the second European country (after Ireland) to include in law the ban on imprisoning children,” explains Simon Moutquin, Ecolo federal deputy.

As part of the development of this bill, Ecolo-Groen was able to obtain other important advances. The Greens notably removed home visits from the draft text. They ensured the addition of a support route for people staying illegally, as an alternative to detention in closed centers. With the anchoring in the law of the publicity of reports of forced evictions from the AIG (General Inspectorate of the Federal Police). And the assessment by a judge on the appropriate nature of the detention, taking into account the effectiveness of less coercive measures, as part of the control of the legality of the conditions of detention of asylum seekers in closed centers.

If other measures in this bill represent a compromise within the Government, “the inclusion in law of the ban on the confinement of children is real progress. In a context where some want to divide society, elsewhere such as in Belgium, it is vital to continue the work to obtain positive progress to aim for a just and humane migration policy,” concludes Rajae Maouane, co-president of Ecolo.

The recognition of a right of residence for stateless persons as well as for parents of children recognized as refugees, also dear to environmentalists, is the subject of two other bills which are currently being debated in the Interior Committee of the Chamber.

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