Flemish Refugee Action is an independent, non-governmental organisation that defends the interests of refugees and asylum seekers. It seeks to make the society aware of the problems faced by refugees and asylum seekers and demands for their respect, dignity and protection. The main activities include campaigning, policy work, support to assistants of refugees, reception of asylum seekers and facilitating networks between organisations and individuals defending the interests of individuals and asylum seekers.

For more information on the project, you can reach the project coordinator at Flemish Refugee Action: Maaike Vanderbruggen.
"A Face to the Story: the issue of unreturnable persons in detention"

A project led by Flemish Refugee Action, in cooperation with France Terre d’Asile, MENEDEK, Detention Action and ECRE.

This EPIM-funded project is raising awareness on the situation of unreturnable migrants in the European Union. Its two main goals are to increase public debate on the limbo situation of unreturnable migrants - who can neither return home, nor acquire a resident permit - and to convince governments
to not use detention in cases of unreturnable migrants and to guarantee them access to fundamental rights.
Besides informing decision-makers, the project reaches out to civil societies to give visibility to this group of migrants, who are often living outside the radar of public attention.

In the following video from the EPIM workshop in June 2013, project coordinator Maaike Vanderbruggen gives an overview of the objectives, key activities and impact of the project:

One of the key activities of the project is to collect testimonies from unreturnable migrants in Europe that can be used as advocacy tools at the national and the EU level in order to increase momentum amongst policy-makers to limit detention and find solutions for unreturnable migrants. These personal stories thus “put a face to the story”.

Published today, 13 January 2014, in a report and on a dedicated website,, you will find 39 stories of unreturn­able migrants who have experienced detention in Belgium, France, Hungary and the United Kingdom. The report includes policy recommendations for national and EU policy-makers on how to improve the situation of unreturnable migrants. The website also offers fact sheets on the issue of unreturnable migrants and related EU law as well as flyers and selected and illustrated testimonies.

Copyright © 2013 NEF - Network of European Foundations


Sheena McLoughlin
European Programme for Integration and Migration (EPIM) c/o NEF,
Résidence Palace (Block C, 6th floor, office 6251)
Rue de la Loi 155B, 1040 Brussels