Until 2009, accompanied migrant minors without a residence permit were regularly detained in closed immigration detention centres in Belgium in view of forced return. However, following several convictions by the European Court of Human Rights, Belgium started to transfer families whose forced return is pending to open return units. At first, high compliance rates were observed: only 20% of the families ‘escaped’ from their unit. Yet as compliance of families with a forced return order has decreased recently, a search for more effective measures was reinforced. In this chapter, this evolution (2000–2016) of forced return and corresponding detention practices related to families in an irregular migration situation in Belgium is analysed from a legal and practical point of view. Central is the argument that, although influences of human right standards have curtailed excessive detention practices, an instrumental quest for effective forced return measures is still predominant.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPrisons, state and violence
EditorsMaria João Guia, Sílvia Gomes
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-13077-0
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-13076-3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019

ID: 47876802