On May 4, 2023, we organized a panel discussion as part of the REGUIDE project, convening a diverse group of experts to deliberate on the repatriation of Belgian citizens currently held in prisons and detention camps in Northeast Syria and Iraq. The primary objective was to reignite attention on the return issue, which had faded from public discourse following the repatriations of children and their mothers in 2021 and 2022. What set this debate apart was our inclusive focus on the repatriation of men and childless women, who are often rendered invisible in repatriation discussions.

The imperative to repatriate all Belgian citizens transcends national security concerns; it is an essential stride aligned with the human rights and democratic principles our country upholds. Active repatriation not only aligns with our values but also facilitates the seamless reintegration and recovery of these individuals and their children into society.

We were privileged to host distinguished guests, including Mayor Hans Bonte, lawyer Abderrahim Lahlali and war journalist Rudi Vranckx, and, engaging in enlightening discussions with VUB researchers Hannan Jamaï and Jihane Sliti. A huge shoutout to Rebel film director Adil El Arbi for his exclusive message, and to the fantastic Sanae Jamaï for moderating the evening. Special thanks also go to Prof. Iman Lechkar and Prof. Gerrit Loots, for sharing their expertise. And last but certainly not least, a many thanks to the 96 incredible participants who joined us in Vilvoorde. We look forward to seeing you again at our future events!
Period4 May 2023
Event typeConference
Locationvilvoorde, Belgium