Belgium to appeal against order to repatriate children from Syria
Thursday, 30 January 2020
The children had to be brought back within 6 weeks. Credit: Belga
The State of Belgium has decided to file an appeal against a ruling by a Brussels court on 11 December ordering it to provide 10 children of IS members in Syria with consular assistance and administrative, travel and identity documents for them to be repatriated.
“The State will try to prove that everything has been done to repatriate the children,” the Prime Minister, Sophie Wilmès, said during a plenary session of the Chamber on Thursday.
According to the ruling, the children need to be repatriated within six weeks, otherwise, the State will face a fine of €5,000 per child for each day that it fails to comply with the court’s order.
The State did not immediately lodge an appeal, but it also did not pay a fine.
At Thursday’s session in the Chamber, the Prime Minister recalled the Government’s intention to repatriate the children. A diplomat was sent to Iraq but no meeting with the children was possible.
In the meantime, the children’s parents have appealed against the ruling, contesting the text’s stipulation that parents should not receive assistance and consular documents.
The Government then decided to file an incident appeal and contest the fines, the Prime Minister announced. “We do intend to take the necessary measures,” she said, adding that it was difficult to guarantee the safety of consular staff locally.
“The Kurds, who control the region where the children are, refuse to allow Belgian military in. A visit to the region by the Foreign Minister (Philippe Goffin) is envisaged,” the Prime Minister said.