03/10/2017 Every day, families are being broken by the Foreigners Office that retains fathers and mothers, separating them form their children, sometimes newborns, and does not hestitate to deport the parent to the “country of origin”, on the pretext of “danger for public order”, refusal of cohabitation or marriage, lack of residence, etc, asserting that the contact with the father/mother can be continued through Skype!
A mother separated from her a few months’ old twins
Cases follow each other, more and more sickening.
This 2nd of October 2017 in the morning, we got a phone call from the women retained at the 127bis closed centre. They told us that a woman had just integrated the centre who said she had been separated from her twins (one month old). We learnt later that they were 5 months old. She had been brought to the centre after having spent 24 hours in the police station in Molenbeek.
The coretainees were outraged. They told us:
“She cries and keeps shouting ‘my babies!!!'” She is incapable of speaking, she can not even say her name!’.
The day after (03/10/2017) a call was launched via Facebook, inviting the citizens to ring the 127bis: dozens of people rang the central. The Delegate general for Children rights, Bernard De Vos, wanted to investigate. He was told : “There is no record of children in the file of that woman at the Foreigners Office.” And other people who rang the 127 bis were told: “Bring us the birth certificate”.
Later in the afternoon, good news arrived: “the mother will be released this evening or tomorrow morning”. And in the evening she got released!
A happy ending for which we would like to thank the retainees who dared denounce the situation, the citizens who put pressure on the centre, and the Delegate General for Children rights who insisted towards the Foreigners Office.
Multiplication of the cases
The case of that woman is not isolated. We are faced confronted with such situations very regularly.
Here are some recent examples:
The child of T., deported on 26/09/2017, is 6 months today. T. arrived in Europe in 2012 because he was fleeing proceedings in a country where dictatorship slowly imposed itself. He had finally started a new life with his girlfriend but, despite a household composition certifying their common living for more than 18 months and his acknowledgement of paternity, he was sent back to a country where his life is in danger.
Mr M arrived in Belgium in 2005. After a small mischief he was sentenced by default and imprisoned during 8 months in 2008. Then he resumed his life, he met his girlfriend whith whom he has had 2 kids (one is more than 2 and the other is a baby of 8 months). He was deported on 11th of June 2017 because he represented a ‘danger for the public order’.
A mother arrived from the United States at Brussels’ airport to visit her family. She got arrested with her 2 children, retained and deported on the 30th of July 2016 because her visa was ‘suspicious’. Her children were under guardianship for two months and repatriated after.
M. was deported this Tuesday 3rd of October to Morocco. He had obtained the paternity of his child after two years of proceedings. The child has been placed by the judge because the mother is absent and his father -acknowledged as his father by the youth court- got deported!
The twins of O. (who got a deportation notice for the 5th of October 2017) will presumably be born at the beginning of November. The request for legal cohabitation with his girlfriend was refused the day the dossier was submitted. The Foreigners Office want to deport him whereas he signed the prenatal acknowledgement of parentage.
The Foreigners Office flouts the best interests of the child
While the construction of the new closed centre for families is ongoing (https://www.cire.be/presse/communiques-de-presse/la-construction-du-nouveau-centre-ferme-pour-familles-avec-enfants-a-commence-communique-de-presse-12-septembre-2017), the Belgian authorities already found other means of imposing the cost of their migratory policies to children: minor refugees retained because suspected of being major on the basis of bones surveys that are highly criticized (https://jucticeetmedecine.wordpress.com/les-tests-osseux-peu-fiables-et-pourtant-massivement-utilises/) and children traumatised by the arrest, retention and deportation of their father or mother.
We strongly condemn those practices as well as the multiplication of cases violating the best interests of the child behind the doors and barbed wires of the closed centres.