In its annual report presented on Thursday morning in Berlin, the NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) pinpoints the confinement of families with children in closed centers in Belgium. However, it praises our country’s efforts to facilitate the organisation of elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The HRW report deplores the fact that: “Belgium went forward in its intention to resume migrant families’ detention by completing, in mid-2018, the building of a new unit for families with children. Belgium had abandoned these detentions in early 2016,” HRW recalls.
Last May, Theo Francken (N-VA), then Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration, had obtained the Government’s green light to allow this confinement in adapted units within an extension of the 127 Bis Center in Steenokkerzeel. A first family had arrived on August 14: a Serbian family with four children. This family had been refused a residence permit in all procedures, and was residing illegally in Belgium since 2013. The family was then deported. Since then, other families have transited through this unit.
The NGO also deplores the lack of data regarding detained children at the European level. So, it is impossible to know just how many EU Member States have taken such action. In 2018, HRW had pinpointed 16 out of 28.
In its report, however, HRW applauds Belgium’s diplomatic efforts in view of the organization of elections for President Joseph Kabila’s successor in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which were finally held on 30 December.