What are they?

In 2008 and 2009 the European Court of Human Rights condemned Belgium for detaining children in detention centres, based on the fact that the detention centres are not adapted to children’s needs. Consequently, the return houses were set up as an alternative to detaining families with children.

Families arrested on Belgian without a residence permit are transferred to a return house, where they await their removal or voluntary return.

The return houses are also used to accommodate families that introduce an asylum claim at the border and families that are denied.