Guantanamo bis: Letter by a retainee in the Vottem closed centre 13/09/2014:

About closed centres or Belgium’s bad conscience

The ugly face of the hideous beast: no one may imagine that human rights are violated to such an extent in the prison institutions called ‘closed centres’ by the Belgian State, and ruled with an iron fist by the Foreigners Office; a repressive instrument at the service of an imperialist migration policy.
The ugly face of the hideous beast: no one may imagine that human rights are violated to such an extent in the prison institutions called ‘closed centres’ by the Belgian State, and ruled with an iron fist by the Foreigners Office; a repressive instrument at the service of an imperialist migration policy.

This repressive instrument is immensely effective and wants to systematically regulate these camps without being perceived as illegal in view of the international law, and notably the labour law. All things considered, in its daily practices, Vottem, where I currently stay, looks like a concentration camp, given the constant psychological and mental constraints in each one of its corners.
This repressive instrument is immensely effective and wants to systematically regulate these camps without being perceived as illegal in view of the international law, and notably the labour law. All things considered, in its daily practices, Vottem, where I currently stay, looks like a concentration camp, given the constant psychological and mental constraints in each one of its corners.

The presence of agents is meant to be a challenge and obstacle to transgression so as to cause a kind of mental self-harm in the detainees. Their presence is a wound of the soul, it contributes to eliminate any attempt to demand or revolt. As a matter of fact, the assessment is obvious: few people dare to dispute or criticize the retention conditions, the lack of hygiene, the communication with the media, the social assistants etc or other recurring problems which damage the daily life of the detainees.
The presence of agents is meant to be a challenge and obstacle to transgression so as to cause a kind of mental self-harm in the detainees. Their presence is a wound of the soul, it contributes to eliminate any attempt to demand or revolt. As a matter of fact, the assessment is obvious: few people dare to dispute or criticize the retention conditions, the lack of hygiene, the communication with the media, the social assistants etc or other recurring problems which damage the daily life of the detainees.
The fact remains however that the pressure exerted is similar to torture in the criminal sense. Under the pretext of ‘security’, they manage to take away men’s dignity, depriving them of their personal belongins among other things, no need to enter obscene and scandalous details. Migrants are detained for simple administrative reasons and seen the physical constraint they are prevented from enjoying freedom of movement, and sometimes are victims of bad treatments. Someone who doesn’t master the ‘Belgian’ language can feel the pain of imprisonment even more deeply. Currently, a Chinese man who only speaks the Han language is deprived of communication since the camp doesn’t have any interpreter at his disposal.
The fact remains however that the pressure exerted is similar to torture in the criminal sense. Under the pretext of ‘security’, they manage to take away men’s dignity, depriving them of their personal belongins among other things, no need to enter obscene and scandalous details. Migrants are detained for simple administrative reasons and seen the physical constraint they are prevented from enjoying freedom of movement, and sometimes are victims of bad treatments. Someone who doesn’t master the ‘Belgian’ language can feel the pain of imprisonment even more deeply. Currently, a Chinese man who only speaks the Han language is deprived of communication since the camp doesn’t have any interpreter at his disposal.
In this establishment, one may feel the ambient tension, confronted with the general gloom of the detainees who are resigned and designed with the pompous word ‘residents’. This is disgrace! The word ‘resident’ actually conceals the full magnitude of the carceral reality, within a context of the global domestication of workers seen as a perspective of containment by the State’s terrorist strength. Let’s speak of its every right to imprison women, children and men so as to create an illusion around the transparency of binding humanitarian rules.
In this establishment, one may feel the ambient tension, confronted with the general gloom of the detainees who are resigned and designed with the pompous word ‘residents’. This is disgrace! The word ‘resident’ actually conceals the full magnitude of the carceral reality, within a context of the global domestication of workers seen as a perspective of containment by the State’s terrorist strength. Let’s speak of its every right to imprison women, children and men so as to create an illusion around the transparency of binding humanitarian rules.
Treat human beings as insignificant quantities so as to fill statistics and make the numbers, isn’t it a renouncement of the Rule of the law principles which democracy wants to be proud of? Call a spade a spade. A detainee can not be called a ‘resident’ even if forced. One is detained with no motive corresponding to the standards of international conventions in matter of detention. In principle, one can not imprison anyone for whom they are or not, but for what they did, according to the judicial treatment having the competence to order detentions.
Treat human beings as insignificant quantities so as to fill statistics and make the numbers, isn’t it a renouncement of the Rule of the law principles which democracy wants to be proud of? Call a spade a spade. A detainee can not be called a ‘resident’ even if forced. One is detained with no motive corresponding to the standards of international conventions in matter of detention. In principle, one can not imprison anyone for whom they are or not, but for what they did, according to the judicial treatment having the competence to order detentions.
However, the Foreigners Office, a State within the State, secure themselves the right to dispose of the human being and if needed imprison them without having to legally report. Those are particularly heinous practices. Need we point out that this institution (in a way, the secular arm, and very curiously, a repressive instrument having a certain closeness, sinister memory, with the High Commission for Jewish Questions under Vichy’s government, in charge of grouping and selecting individuals before sending them to a certain death. Here we are not totally in the same context. Nevertheless the process is almost the same. It is about methodical industrial efficiency, several times condemned by the ECHR for acts of torture and barbarism.
However, the Foreigners Office, a State within the State, secure themselves the right to dispose of the human being and if needed imprison them without having to legally report. Those are particularly heinous practices. Need we point out that this institution (in a way, the secular arm, and very curiously, a repressive instrument having a certain closeness, sinister memory, with the High Commission for Jewish Questions under Vichy’s government, in charge of grouping and selecting individuals before sending them to a certain death. Here we are not totally in the same context. Nevertheless the process is almost the same. It is about methodical industrial efficiency, several times condemned by the ECHR for acts of torture and barbarism.
Immigrants locked up in Vottem are deemed equivalent to battering rams, that one has to stuff from dawn to dusk, four snacks a day, mainly slices of bread with cheese or chocolate paste, in a purely occupational purpose, and also to the contrary seen the lack of liberty and the inherent constraints so that the repressive instrument doesn’t have to be afflicted by the pitiful image of idleness it offers.
Immigrants locked up in Vottem are deemed equivalent to battering rams, that one has to stuff from dawn to dusk, four snacks a day, mainly slices of bread with cheese or chocolate paste, in a purely occupational purpose, and also to the contrary seen the lack of liberty and the inherent constraints so that the repressive instrument doesn’t have to be afflicted by the pitiful image of idleness it offers.
It is the case, no one can remain unmoved in front of this kind of imprisonment generating tears flows linked to the loss of a job, to family and social breakdowns, and to the principles of equality in front of the law.
It is the case, no one can remain unmoved in front of this kind of imprisonment generating tears flows linked to the loss of a job, to family and social breakdowns, and to the principles of equality in front of the law.
What about the persons responsible for this kind of crual and shameful practices? Politicians or servants of this politics launched as a normative regulatory methodology of immigrants in a global calculation process, considered as a machine that grinds men with no mercy. Politicians and subordinates have a great time. Belgium, Rule of the Law state, only has the label of it because how can one otherwise explain that women and men, often with children, are deported by force when their rights are being reviewed and despite the effective appeals in front of courts?
What about the persons responsible for this kind of crual and shameful practices? Politicians or servants of this politics launched as a normative regulatory methodology of immigrants in a global calculation process, considered as a machine that grinds men with no mercy. Politicians and subordinates have a great time. Belgium, Rule of the Law state, only has the label of it because how can one otherwise explain that women and men, often with children, are deported by force when their rights are being reviewed and despite the effective appeals in front of courts?
It is complete non sense; I was told that Belgium was the country of surrealism but it obviously is the State where this very notion is outdated. Here, all the steps leading to opprobrium have been happily crossed since when the dissolution of responsibilities enables everything and nothing in a system that is self-governed and that, in the case of the Foreigners Office that avoids the authority of the tutorship, it is a totalitarian State in miniature… of course!
It is complete non sense; I was told that Belgium was the country of surrealism but it obviously is the State where this very notion is outdated. Here, all the steps leading to opprobrium have been happily crossed since when the dissolution of responsibilities enables everything and nothing in a system that is self-governed and that, in the case of the Foreigners Office that avoids the authority of the tutorship, it is a totalitarian State in miniature… of course!

Larbaoui Mohamed
Secured wing of the closed centre for immigrants in Vottem

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