Belgium [EN, FR] Visit of the MEP Malin Björk at the closed centre of Merksplas

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Article posted the 2015/03/02

[EN] On March 2 2015, in the framework of the Open Access Now campaign, the MEP Malin Björk (GUE/NGL) visited the closed centre of Merksplas, while the Belgian Secretary of State Theo Franken confirms his will to increase the capacities of administrative detention centres for foreigners.

Here are some extracts of the press release diffused by the participating NGOs, Ciré and LDH (Belgium) and of Malin Björk’s declarations after the visit:

“More than 6 000 migrants are detained each year in the five Belgium closed centres, for the only reason they have no residence permit. These centres prove to be the theater of numerous violations of human fundamental rights”.


“To support the campaign’s claims, especially the unconditional access of the civil society to these centres, the MEP Malin Björk decided to visit the Merksplas centre. While a first visit had been refused by the Foreigners’ Office in January, the visit of Monday March  2 has been authorized … but not for journalists, which is a total violation of the “Return” Directive. In this respect, Malin Björk explained that “the opening of these places to the democratic vigilance should be reinforced, including the media’s access””.


“The closed centres are similar to real prisons, as prove the solution of the isolation as a sanction. After her visit, Malin Björk declared: “the increasing will to frame migratory and asylum politicies within a security and repressive regime appears clearly””. […]

To see the whole press release (in French): http://www.liguedh.be/espace-presse/130-communiques-de-presse-2015/2266-les-centres-fermes–des-prisons-a-lombre-du-droit-et-des-medias


Date(s) of publication: 02/03/2015