Mr Gebre Mariam, who committed suicide at the Vottem closed centre on 9 October 2018 had obtained asylum in Bulgaria. He had been threatened with an axe there and absolutely didn’t want to go back to that country. He had been through a first deportation attempt to Bulgaria, which he had refused. The Chamber had ordered his release but the Foreigners office had introduced an appeal against that order and he stayed in retention. He feared a new deportation attempt with escort. One of his friends told us that he had said he would kill himself rather than being deported. The lawyer had also contacted the Foreigners Office to notify them of the racist violence in Bulgaria https://www.amnesty.org/fr/countries/europe-and-central-asia/bulgaria/report-bulgaria/
The Foreigners Office are acting without mercy for the future of the individual; they do not consider the physical and psychological state of the individual nor the dangers of returning to a country where he wouldn’t not be in security.
One solution only : No to closed centres, Stopdeportation
Suicide in closed centre in Vottem: : Gathering on 13/10 2018 At Closed centre in Vottem
This morning we were informed of the suicide of an Eritrean refugee in the closed centre of Vottem. According to our sources, he committed suicide around 1 a.m. He had been retained in Vottem for almost 4 months. He suffered a lot from his retentin; testimonies describe him as someone very depressive, barely feeding himself. A few hours before his suicide by hanging, he had been transferred from one wing to another for an unknown reason. After that, he had been given a room alone. That’s where he was found hanging by his bed sheet. The other Eritreans are annihilated, they do not understand why he was isolated, deprived of the company he used to enjoy, and left unattended, in such a bad state!
All Vottem retainees are in shock. Many refused to eat today. They tell us how unbearable it is to live in nothing else than a prison, with daily bullying.
We are outraged. Indeed, one may imagine how four months of retention destroyed a man who, like many other ‘transmigrants’, had fled war to try and join his family and friends in Great Britain. That is the result of the manhunt policy led by the State Secretary for Asylum and Migration, Théo Francken, and by Michel’s government. After little Mawda, after this young man hit by a car while crossing a highway to escape the police, after this suicide, who will be the next victim of this policy?
Closed centres are deportation machines. They implement practices aimed at destroying people psychologically and physically, day after day, also during deportation attempts. Nothing is spared; isolation cell, prison within the prison, the secured isolation cell in Vottem, the disciplinary transfers, insults, blows, handcuffs during each travel to the court or the hospital… Here is what the ‘retainees’ tell us about every day, not understanding why they are being treated as ‘criminals’, many of them had never experienced prison nor handcuffs before… and they don’t want that anymore!
It has been the fifth death in Vottem since 2008 : 3 suicides and 2 dead because of inappropriate care.
Citizen resistance must go on to protest again this deadly asylum and migration policy, which replaces welcome by rejection, deportation; which retains children despite the heavy psychological damage it will bring, in disregard of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child.
NO, not in our name!
We invite you to join our weekly gathering at CRACPE this Saturday 13 October around the Vottem closed centre, as of 3 p.m.
Contact: France Arets 0497 54 24 24 24 33, firstname.lastname@example.org
CRER, CRACPE, LDH, CRER, CRACPE, MDM, het CIRE-vzw, CNCD