Incarcerated Serbian family returns voluntarily

A Serbian family that had been locked in the secure migrant facility at Steenokkerzeel in Flemish Brabant awaiting repatriation has returned to Serbia voluntarily. The family had been sent to Steenokkerzeel for the second time last month. Previous they had been released as legal proceedings had meant that the maximum length of time (28 days) that they could be detained had been exceeded.

They were taken to an open facility for migrants that are due to be repatriated at Sint-Gillis Waas from which they ran away. When they were found they were sent back to Steenokkerzeel.

The detention of the single mother and her four children at the centre had been controversial and there was protest from a number of NGOs such as Amnesty International. Now the office of the Secretary of state responsible for asylum and migration Theo Francken (nationalist, photo below) has confirmed that the woman and her children have returned to their home country.

The family had done all it could to remain. According to Mr Francken, the family had started no fewer than 34 legal procedures since mid-August in an effort to remain.      

"The family has now chosen to return voluntarily to their country of origin. They signed a declaration stating that their return was voluntary”.