Access to the territory and push backs


Country Report: Access to the territory and push backs Last updated: 01/04/21


Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen Visit Website

There are no published reports by NGOs about cases of actual refoulement at the border of persons wanting to apply for asylum.

In French, returning someone at the border without having allowed them to access the territory, but after having examined their asylum application on its well-foundedness, is wrongly referred to with the legal term “refoulement”. This may add to the confusion between a genuine refoulement (or “push back”) and the execution of a return decision.

In Belgium, there is no actual border monitoring system in place that corresponds to the definition set forth by UNHCR. However, several organisations have formed a coalition active in the field of administrative detention of migrants. Since January 2021, this coalition is officially in place and known by the name MOVE. Currently, the members of the steering Committee of MOVE are Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen, JRS Belgium, Caritas International Belgium and Ciré, but the goals of MOVE are achieved in full collaboration with an advisory committee composed of other NGO’s. The members of MOVE build on almost 20 years of experience in the field of immigration detention and possess vast expertise in the four specific pillars of the coalition:

  • visits and monitoring of detention centers, in order to give to the detainees psychosocial support, neutral information and legal aid. The visitors observe the conditions in the detention centers.
  • quality legal expertise offered to visitors and other legal practitioners, in order to increase access to legal defense for the detainees
  • field observations and recommendations for concrete changes are carried out by the political pillar, which maintains close contact with politicians;
  • a media and communication pillar, that works on fundamentally questioning detention for migratory reasons in the public space.


Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation