Detention of children under fire
20 November 2007, BRUSSELS - The failure of the authorities to process a request to allow the children of a number of failed asylum seekers to take part in an event staged by the scouts is causing controversy.
20 November 2007
BRUSSELS - The failure of the authorities to process a request to allow the children of a number of failed asylum seekers to take part in an event staged by the scouts is causing controversy.
The children are incarcerated together with their parents in the closed refugee centre "127bis" at Steenokkerzeel (Flemish Brabant). The parents are awaiting removal from the country.
The lawyers representing nine of the children faxed an application to the Immigration Department on Thursday, but because 15 November is a holiday in the public service the application was not processed.
The department was not open on Friday either.
The application asked for permission for the children aged 5 to 14 to meet up and play with scouts from the Brussels borough of Schaarbeek.
When they lawyers turned up at the centre in a minibus the children were prevented from leaving because the necessary paperwork was not forthcoming.
Freddy Roosemont of the Immigration Department told the VRT that there was a further reason for the refusal to let the children leave in the minibus: the lawyers wanted to use the children in a media stunt.
He also says there was a risk that the children would not be returned.
The lawyers say that the refusal is further evidence that Belgium illegally detains children in closed asylum centres.
[Copyright Flanders news 2007]
Subject: Belgian news