Brussels’ Afghan community stands up against deportations

 After the threat of group deportation flights to Kabul, 200 to 300 Afghans have launched one week of awareness-raising in the Church of Le Béguinage in Brussels on the 15th July 2013. They want to stand up against these deportations and  put pressure on the government to cancel this (more than possible) group deportation flight to Kabul. Several families with children are concerned.

The motto of the Afghan community that occupies the church of Le béguinage is “No deportation to Afghanistan”, a country that has been at war for many years and where the situation keeps deteriorating. The UN Secretary General reports that in Afghanistan at least 414 children have died because of the conflict between January and April 2013; which represents an increase and raises many serious concerns.

Currently, according to our sources, at least 25 Afghans are being detained in closed centres: 15 in the 127bis centre in Steenokkerzeel, 10 in Bruges, and a dozen in Vottem. We don’t have any information on the closed centres of Merksplas and the Caricole because it is difficult to get in contact with the detainees there.

A few families fled the centre of Holsbeek after they learnt about the possible group deportation flight. The return centre in Holsbeek is the place where the Foreigners Office gathers people and families who got an order to leave the territory to prepare them to a so-called ‘voluntary’ return.

In the Netherlands also, a lot of Afghans were arrested and detained in their ‘retentiecentrum, which leads one to believe that a group flight is being planned in collaboration with other European countries by the respective governments and/or Frontex (European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union).

Migrants who are looking for asylum in our European countries all have their reasons, may they be economical, ecological, or political. Only a tiny minority of them comes to Europe whereas the majority finds asylum in the adjacent countries and lives in ‘camps’.

Each  community tries to react to these individual or group deportations to preserve their compatriots by demonstrating, going to the airport or in front of the closed centres. As it was the case for Guineans or Congolese people during previous group deportation flights.

This division between communities is not a mere coincidence. By setting different criteria according to the different nationalities, the Foreigners Office confers different positions to migrants; which breaks any chance of solidarity, and this without denying that each community have their peculiarities, problematics and solidarity networks.

Each community needs our solidarity!

No deportation !

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