Petitions to end detention of refugee children
20 June 2006, BRUSSELS — Three petitions were presented to Interior Minister Patrick Dewael on Tuesday complaining about the detention of asylum seeker children in refugee detention centres.
20 June 2006
BRUSSELS — Three petitions were presented to Interior Minister Patrick Dewael on Tuesday complaining about the detention of asylum seeker children in refugee detention centres.
The petitions — signed by about 18,000 people — coincided with World Refugee Day and are an initiative of Amnesty International and the Francophone family services unit.
They were supported by UNICEF, Caritas, the Flemish Refugee Council and the Flemish youth council. Child psychiatrists and psychologists also supported the petitions.
The human rights organisations fear detained asylum-seeker children will suffer psychological problems resulting from their detention.
The action was designed to underline demands for an independent investigation into possible alternatives for the detention of asylum-seeker children.
Dewael has promised to conduct such an investigation before making any policy changes.
However, previous studies have indicated that detained asylum seeker children suffer psychological problems.
Refugee children are detained in Belgium — either with their parents or not — to await their repatriation or a final assessment on their request for asylum.
The children are detained at the refugee shelter 127bis in Steenokkerzeel, centre 127 in Melsbroek and the centres for illegal immigrants in Merksplas and Vottem.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news