Back and forth

18 January 2011 – telephone interview from detention centre 127bis

-How long have you been at 127bis?

-Today is my 21st day here.

– I understand you’ve travelled a lot, is that right?

– Yes lots! (he laughs)

– So you come from Sudan?

-Yes I come from Sudan, but there are too many problems for me to go back there. Nobody from my family is there anymore, it is no longer possible for me to live there.

– And they want to deport you tomorrow?

– Yes, tomorrow morning at 10am they want to deport me to Switzerland. But I am going to refuse. I don’t want to go back to Switzerland.

– Can you tell us about your journey?

– Yes, the first time I declared asylum was in Beyrouth, at the embassy in Australia in 2004. I stayed there for a year and they gave me a negative decision. They said that I don’t have Australian family who can help me, that I am a single man…they told me to claim asylum in Europe.

So I left Beyrouth and I was in Turkey. I stayed there for ten months. Then I was in Greece where I stayed for a year.

After Greece, I went to Switzerland, I stayed for a year and a half and then they gave me a negative response. I launched an appeal with a lawyer, I waited another year but they didn’t make a decision.

So I left Switzerland on 30 February 2009 and I went to Oslo in Norway. On 20 March, I claimed asylum there. I stayed for four months. Then they deported me back to Switzerland. I didn’t have a house, any money, papers, how could I stay like that? It was very difficult. I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to come and claim asylum here in Belgium.

The first time I claimed asylum in Belgium was on 27 September 2009. I stayed for four months in Ghent.

After four months they gave me an appointment here in Brussels, they stopped me and put me in detention.
I stayed in the centre for nine months and then they sent me back to Switzerland.

When I arrived there, straightaway they put in prison. I was in prison for ten months and ten days.

They released me on 20 December 2010 in a Swiss town.

So I left Switzerland and I was then in France, at Calais, I wanted to get to England. It was so cold, there was lots of snow, I didn’t have any money or a roof over my head. It was too hard so I came back here.

I decided to claim asylum again, I explained my problem, that I was in prison in Switzerland, that they had to help me and grant me asylum. The same day I had my interview at the CGRA (Office of the Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons) they stopped me and brought me to the detention centre.

And tomorrow they want to send me back to Switzerland!

No country has wanted to listen to my problem, it is very hard.

– OK, tomorrow we will phone you back to find out what is happening when you are at the airport. Good luck!

OK thank you.

The next day his comrades from the centre called us to find out where he was. We thought he would maybe have been able to refuse deportation. Maybe the pressure was too strong this time or he hadn’t realised that nobody can resist when they are in that situation…

He left his country of origin seven years ago, and soon he will have spent two years being passed from prison to prison. Today he is probably locked-up in Switzerland where he’ll stay for the next ten months… the human face of ‘migration management’.

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