No child to the side

Although it seems unreal, hundreds of children in the Netherlands have to deal with police raids every week. They are the children in the family locations. This is why ‘No child to the side’ organized  two demonstration tours in May and continues the actions for the rights of the children at the family locations.

poster-smallIn the Netherlands, many refugee families live in so-called ‘family locations’. Often they live there for years, usually in one room per family. There are family locations in Gilze, Katwijk, Den Helder, Amersfoort, Emmen, Goes and Burgum. More than a quarter of refugee children in the Netherlands live in a family location.

Most refugees in the family locations have been rejected for the Children’s Pardon. 98% of these applications are rejected because the families ‘did not sufficiently cooperate in their return’, according to the DT&V. The fact that cooperating in return is a condition to stay here is of course bizarre. Defence for Children has been running a campaign for more than three-years against the deception of the Children’s Pardon.

Refugee children and their parents live in uncertainty for years. On top of that, there is the constant threat of deportation: every week several families are being lifted from their bed before dawn by the immigration authorities, after which they are transferred to the family prison Kamp Zeist. From there they will be put on a plane to the country of origin, even though this often yields a life-threatening situation for the parents, and the children do not feel at home there anymore.

The stories of children and their parents show that the police often uses violence during the raids and deportations. There are testimonies of pushing, hitting and pulling, but also even the deployment of police dogs and the use of stun guns and tranquilizers. In 2013, the then 15-year-old M was so mistreated by the arresting team that his head was black and blue. It also happens that children are being separated from their parents during transport to Kamp Zeist.

Because so little is known about the family locations, the suffering of refugee children that have already been there for a long time, occurs invisibly and silently. This can no longer continue.

NO CHILD TO THE SIDE is working with refugee children, their parents and numerous organizations for:

  • An honest and unconditional Children’s Pardon
  • Stopping raids in family locations and the subsequent detention and deportation


On you can find more information about the family locations and stories of children and young people who live there.

If you can you get a group of at least fifteen people together and want an information evening about the family locations? Please be sure to contact us.


Together for the rights of children and their parents in the family locations!


English version of the info brochure with background information downloadable here.