Expatica news

Demand for more humane policy

1 August 2007

BRUSSELS – The Children’s Rights Commissioner (KRC) is urging that a more humane asylum, deportation and legalisation policy be implemented. In a memo KRC sent to policy-makers in May, the institution asks for five measures to make the situation of minors who are seeking asylum more humane.

“Children of illegal aliens are being locked up in closed centres from one day to the next these days, even though they’ve committed no crime,” the KRC writes. “They sometimes endure weeks of conditions that are extremely stressful and not conducive for a child’s wellbeing.”

“This is unacceptable. This practice not only violates their right to protection against unlawful detention, but also violates their right to education, to healthy development, to play and free time…” the KRC says. “The current deportation policy does not take their rights and interests into account.”

The institution asks for a more humane policy. Alternatives must be found so that children are no longer locked up pending their deportation, the KRC says.

Moreover a second wave of legalisation must be effected for families that have been in Belgium for a long time. Legalisation should be based on clear criteria, like the length of time spent in the country for instance. The decision making on eligibility should also take into account the children’s situation.

In many cases the children have lived here for a long time and built up a life here. The KRC asks that the law also stipulate a maximum waiting period of one year for an answer on an asylum application. Finally the institution urges that the system for custody of unaccompanied minors be expanded and reinforced. Every year some 600 to 700 minors are held for some length of time in closed asylum centres in Belgium.

[Copyright Expatica News 2007]

Subject: Belgian news