In Short: The Positions of JRS Belgium

We are against the systematic detention of people seeking asylum and protection in Belgium. Detention is only acceptable as a measure of last resort, in the absence of any other possible measures.

  • No asylum seekers shall be detained;
  • We firmly oppose the detention of under-aged children, in view of the disastrous, sometimes irreversible consequences that such an experience can have, even if children are detained together with their parents. Family life is not compatible with detention;
  • Based on respect for family life and unity, we are opposed to the detention and the separation of families by detaining one member of the family;
  • Vulnerable people shall not be detained.

JRS Belgium calls on the authorities to develop alternatives to detention that do not compromise the individual’s freedom.

As long as administrative detention is not banned, the fundamental human rights should be respected inside closed detention centres. Every individual is entitled to the respect of his/her dignity.

  • Detention shall only be decided by an independent judicial authority, in the first place. Otherwise, this decision shall be subject to systematic judicial review;
  • Legal aid provided within closed centres should be free of charge, competent and immediate;
  • From the very start of the procedure, detainees must be accompanied and offered legal aid. They shall immediately be informed about their legal situation, in a language they understand;
  • The living conditions in the closed centres shall not be similar to a prison. The detainees must be guaranteed the right to:
    • Have visitors, follow trainings, practice their religion;
    • Have access to medical and psychological care, social accompaniment, education, and all other fundamental rights.

Detainees must be informed about their removal in due time, in order for them to prepare their return. If there is any doubt about the security of (s)he who is to be returned in his/her country of origin, the removal cannot take place.

An independent supervising authority should regularly and efficiently control the living conditions in detention, as well as risks associated with deportations.

Defending their rights
Advocating and Detention