Brussels, Belguim.18th December 2023 -As part of his four-day working visit in Brussels, the Sierra Leone Chief Immigration Officer (SL-CIO), and team visited the Belgium Detention Center to get first hand information on how the Belgian Government treats immigrants and asylum seekers in their country, called on them to regard the 1948 December 10 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and also respect the right of immigrants and asylum seekers under international treaties.

Given a brief synopsis of their operations, the Director of the Belgium Detention Center, Gloethaels Rika, disclosed that in 2012 the Center was set-up to address the scores of challenges faced by the Belgium Government to address issues around immigration in the country.

She pointed out that the establishment of the Belgium Detention Center was to minimize influx of immigrants and refugees who move from different countries around the world especially, Asia and Africa to stay in Belgium.

She added that the Center detained people who do not have legal travel documents to residents in Belgium from the Airport. She intimated that the center predominantly deals with people who have no business to residents in Belgium.

She was pleased to inform the CIO and team that as at the time of their visit the center had no case of Sierra Leonean detainee. She however, reported that the center most times received cases of people who claimed to be Sierra Leoneans with no trace of their origin from Sierra Leoneans.

Responding to questions on how they handle cases of people who are voluntarily willing to return to their country, the Director of Belgium Detention Center revealed that the International Organization for Migration handles such cases, highlighting their success stories since the establishment of the center.

She stated that the center has recreational facilities to train, counseling and of course medically suitable to respond to the detainees when the need rises.

Goethaels Rika informed Hon. Alusine Kanneh that the Sierra Leone Embassy in Belgium have been collaboratively working together to see how they can address the issue of immigrants and asylum seekers who claimed to be Sierra Leoneans.

James Copper, Deputy Director, Border Management, Immigration Department, reiterated the need for collaborative working between the sister countries in addressing illegal migration. He said illegal migration is a serious issue and countries need to treat it with utmost seriousness.

He said he was pleased to see the sincere data shown by the Director of Belgium Detention Center, adding he was pleased to be informed that there were no reported cases of a Sierra Leonean in detention.

James Copper also pleaded to the Belgium Immigration Office to see how they can work together in addressing immigrants issues.

From his side, the CIO was pleased with the data received from the Belgium Detention Center with no case of Sierra Leonean being detained, emphasizing the need for collaboration between the two countries.

The CIO called on the detention center to respect the universal conventions of the human rights aspect in carrying on their work. He said the conventions protect both refugees and asylum seekers and raised concern on the package of rehabilitating someone’s life.

He commended the Center for not recording any Sierra Leonean detainee, he therefore called on them to kindly pay attention to the package of refugees and asylum seekers.

A conducted tour was done throughout the detention facilities by the CIO and team to ascertain the reality of the data received from the Belgium Detention Center.

For more enquiries:
Communications Specialist,
Office of the Chief Immigration Officer