AFTER the criminal retention, mid-January, of Mrs E. who was arrested while in transit at Zaventem airport with a French residence permit in order but with a “non-compliant” passport according to the Foreigners Office:
AFTER 3 deportation attempts to China, where she should have fixed the passport problem at the DRC embassy;
AFTER the publication online of a petition calling for her release, that got 638 signatures in a few hours, the Foreigners Office FINALLY released Mrs E this Friday 10th of February at 8 p.m., out of surprise and for no precise reason. Mrs E picked up her children and went back home in Paris.
She does not understand anything and feels very, very bad. She tells us: «
They¹ve taken everything from me; passeport, residence permit, licence
etc. I am nothing anymore. » « How will I be able to live without my
children? » « How will we repair all this after that?”
When can we expect the end of arbitrary and discriminator arrests at Zaventem airport?
Has Zaventem airport become a racist trap? We are tempted to think so seeing the increased number of people who, although being in possession of valid documents (visas or resident permits delivered by EU Member States), are being arrested upon arrival or during their stop over, on the basis of totally groundless suspicions.
The latest case we heard of is shocking: a woman from the Democratic Republic of Congo living in Paris with a resident permit valid until 2025 was coming back from China. She wanted to catch a train for Paris. She is the mother of 4 French children, among whom 1 year old twins. She was arrested at the airport because her passport was supposedly “not in order”.
She was transferred to the Caricole centre from where they’ve already tried to deport her twice to China! The next deportation attempt will therefore happen under escort. The Belgian authorities, violating the Belgian and international law, are ready to use strength to illegally take a mother away from her 4 children!
This Sunday 29th of January, the children were brought from Paris to the Caricole. One may imagine the shock of this reunification between the walls of a closed centre. The police took the children to bring them to the guardianship service. Despite the intervention by Bernard De Vos, General Delegate for the Rights of the Child, the Foreigners Office stick to their decision. The distressed mother stayed in the Caricole.
We ask for the immediate release of that woman.
Besides, we want to know who is responsible for these illegal arrests and retentions. Zaventem airport is more and more often the scene of systematic discrimination against these people, in general Black, Arab or veiled persons, who have a stop over there or would like to legally access the Belgian territory. We could count a dozen of similar cases and can say from now on: be careful, travelling through Brussels Airport may turn out to be very costly.
Mrax, CRER, GVO, SOSmigrants, CRARPE