Protestors gather by Manneken Pis to oppose detention centre for refugee familiesThursday, 16 August 2018 15:11
Organisers said the action took place by Manneken Pis for symbolic reasons: he is after the only child in Brussels who deserves to be behind bars.
“There is no justification for locking these people up,” said a spokesperson for the movement. “And certainly not minors. That is why we have created a movement, so that this clandestine rule cannot just pass unseen in the middle of the summer season.”
Theo Francken, secretary of state for migration and asylum, defended a measure he said was a last resort when families refused outright to return once permission to stay in Belgium had been refused. Ten years or so ago, Belgium found itself condemned by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg for detaining families.
“Nobody locks up children for fun,” Francken wrote on his personal blog. “I’m not doing this for my own pleasure. But in some cases it’s unavoidable. As secretary of state I have to apply the law on foreigners, and the law is clear: someone who has no right to remain in the country is in breach of the law, and has to leave,” he said.
The Brussels Times
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