The collective Getting the Voice Out condemns the arrestation and the
previous attempt of deportation of a underage Afghan asylum seeker(who according to the Belgian Migration Office is of age. However the Office made this conclusion based on a research on the bones of the boy. This specific type of research has been criticized before by professionals in the health sector). This boy asked for international protection in Belgium. But since his fingerprints were taken in Bulgaria, the Belgian Migration Office decided to appeal to the Dublin-regulation. As a consequence he got arrested during an appointment with the Belgian Migration Office and was brought to the closed asvlum center at Merksplas.
Previously there was already an attempt to deport him. During the first attempt severe physical violence was used. The second attempt to deport him to Bulgaria is planned for tomorrow: Tuesday the 12th of December. We wholeheartedly condemn this. Bulgaria is a country that was already several times convicted for their inhumane asylum policy by international human rights organizations like Human Rights Watch.
Currently A. is locked away in the closed asylum center of Merksplas and he was a victim of severe physical violence during a first attempt to deport him on the 22th of November of this year (2023). At 6 am he was brought to the airport. Both his hand and feet were tied up. He has made it clear that he, by no means, wants to be deported to Bulgaria, since this country treats migrants very poorly. He got beaten by the cop who accompanied him to the airport. More specifically he got beaten on the left side of his body and in his private parts. The boy shared the following on this: “A cop stood on my feet with his heavy boots. Due to a technical issue the plane could not take off in the end and I was transported back to Merksplas. I am still really in shock because of what happened.”
In line with Article 3 of the Dublin-agreement, Belgium did not deport people anymore to Bulgaria. This because of Bulgaria’s inhumane asylum policy.
Although the asylum policy of Bulgaria did not change since then, Belgium started to deport people to Bulgaria again. This since a couple of months. The Belgian Migration Office appeals to the Dublin-agreement to justify this. Meanwhile the inhumane asylum policy, which includes lack of places in official asylum centers and access to a lawyer, police violence and push backs, continues to exist to this
In September 2023 the OSAR(Swiss organizations for refugees) declared that deporting people to Bulgaria results in extreme poverty for these people. OSAR qualifies deportations to Bulgaria as illegitimate and condemns because of this reason every deportation/return/ transportation to Bulgaria.
There is no discussion about the fact that Belgium should treat the demand for international protection of this boy and that he in no way can be send back to Bulgaria, a country where his life would be in danger, similar to Afghanistan.