Another deportation prevented: call fol rally against detention centres and deportations on Thursday 13 July at 9am

Rally organised by the Congolese community to support Ms C, who resisted a deportation to Angola, and to support all detained Congolese who risk deportation

Thursday 13 July at 9am in front of the Office des étrangers – Chaussée d’Anvers, 59B 1000 Brussels (Gare du Nord)

Ms C has been detained in the closed centre of Bruges since November 2016. She is from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and has been living in Belgium for more than ten years. In 2009 her regularisation application was approved, but following several blunders her file got lost in the maze of the administration. The deadline was exceeded and Ms C, against her will and against all logic, became an irregular migrant. While living in Belgium, between 2009 and 2016, Mrs C has built her life as well as a relationship. She was arrested at her partner’s place. This is how it went.

At 6 am (therefore illegally) “they rang at the door and said ‘we are here to arrest you, you are illegal’. I was handcuffed and taken to the detention center in Bruges”. Although Belgium has already been condemned for this kind of unlawful arrest, these practices continue on a daily basis!

During her time in the Bruges closed centre, Ms C has been facing daily the logic of detention and she has tried to hold on: “I wait. People here sometimes stop eating and cry. This is what life is like in the centre”.

To flee her country, Mrs C transited through Angola, where she got her documents and bought a plane ticket (under a fake Angolan identity). Today, this is precisely where the problem lies in her file: according go the Office des étrangers (Immigration Office), she can not prove her Congolese identity. She has however submitted several documents proving it, but the CGRA (Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons) criticised “the absence of biometrical data”! Against all logic, the OE wants to deport her to Angola, where she does not know anyone and, most crucially, where she could be imprisoned.

Ms C is well known in all the communities where she has been involved (Church, neighbours…) and many positive testimonies have been gathered to support her application for asylum. The OE, however, did not take into account any of these elements, nor the specific nature of her path and her integration into society. Their only message is: “You are illegal, pack your bags”.

On July 11, Ms C faced a  violent deportation attempt, with its usual trail of abuse, insults and threats.

“When I arrived at the airport, that took me to a little room, there were two persons, they told me: this is what will happen now, today we are escorting you to your country. I said I was not Angolan, they replied: we have the laissez-passer, that’s it. Four more people arrived, there were three women and three men… Then they put the special belt on me. People started getting on the airplane, there were’t many passengers, I pretended I was sleeping. When more people had boarded, I screamed, I screamed a lot, I said: I did an application for asylum, I gave them evidence, all the evidence, I’ve been living here for years and I gave them the address. I said I am not Angolan, I am Congolese, they know very well. I started giving the name of my primary school, of my township in Congo, that’s when people realised I was Congolese and stood up, they started filming. There were a lot of people standing, they were saying: you are not going to leave, Miss, your are not going to leave. The hostess arrived and she told me to disembark.”

“The policemen form the escort were angry, they insulted me – I can not repeat what they said. Then they said: you will get back here in two or three days and this time it will be with Air Maroc, we are going to make you a personal record as an undeclared worker and we will give it to the centre, this way you will not get out of this”.

Join them to support the opposition and resistance movement to these blind policies.

This Thursday 13 July at 9am in front of the Office des étrangers – Chaussée d’Anvers,59B 1000 Brussels (Gare du Nord)

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