The co-president of Ecolo, Zakia Khattabi, on Monday denounced the Government’s decision to again authorise the practice of detaining families with children in closed centres prior to sending them away and recalled the spirit of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child. “Charles Michel promised us; he’s done it! He has succeeded in making Belgium exist on the international scene,” she said in a press release in reaction to the decision, which took effect on Saturday. “It’s now the United Nations, none less, that is exhorting Belgium not to lock children up in closed centres.
Ms Khattabi recalled that Belgium had often been condemned by the European Court of Human Rights for similar practices. “The cosmetic semantics of the Federal Government, which speaks of family houses, in no way changes the reality it masks: children should not be locked up. Period,” the co-leader of the French-speaking ecologist party said.
Ecolo has now joined 281 Belgian associations mobilised against the practice and says it will support any initiative aimed at ending it. “How can Belgium be credible as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council when it is called to order for violating conventions on these matters by the UN itself?” Ms Khattabi wondered.