“One does not lock up children” in Belgium, says the Minors in Exile platform
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    “One does not lock up children” in Belgium, says the Minors in Exile platform

    In Belgium, “children are not locked up”, insisted the Minors in Exile platform by launching an awareness campaign on this topic for the attention of the general public on Wednesday. According to the platform, the federal government plans to build a new closed centre especially for families with under-age children next to the Brussels National airport.

    According to Platform coordinator Tine Vermeiren, the aim of the campaign is to mobilise the general public to convince the government to abandon the project of this closed centre, which is due to be completed in 2017. “The place of a child is never in a closed centre according to the International Convention on Children’s Rights, which our country has ratified, but also according to the Belgian Constitution. The rights of children must always take priority. The detrimental impact of confinement on the health, development and well-being of children has been demonstrated several times, even if the detention is of very short duration and happens under relatively humane conditions”, emphasised the Minors in Exile platform.

    It brings together 50 organisations working with the families of under-age children in precarious or unusual situations and with unaccompanied foreign minors. Its campaign was launched in collaboration with the Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen, CIRÉ, Caritas International and JRSBelgium.

    More than 70 organisations, including education networks, youth and human rights organisations, share this view, the platform says.

    Oscar Schneider
    The Brussels Times