Despite the limited occupation in closed centres, tensions are high: fight among retainees, repression and racism by the staff, police intervention, confinement, transfers, suffering, rebellion, etc. Most of the retainees are ‘double penalties’ but besides, asylum seekers are arrested in open centres and migrants in transit on the street. They are retained in view of their deportation to their Dublin or ‘origin’ country. The retention length gets extremely long, a year for some, because of the impossibility to deport to several countries; which partly explains the tensions.
Reminder: phone number to call in case of arrest: https://www.gettingthevoiceout.org/mode-demploi-en-cas-darrestations-en-belgique-11-08-2020/
Words by retainees:
-“this is not double penalty, it is triple penalty: prison, closed centre, separation from my children. I do not believe in justice anymore.
-“There are many fathers here: why do they take away children from their fathers when they greatly need them?”
- Racism and repression
-“This is not the closed centre of Bruges, this is Vlaams Belang”.
-“They do not like Arabs. They turn on the air conditioner too high, it is very cold, they do it on purpose”.
-“All the staff are accomplices of the Foreigners Office”.
-“It is terrible here, we do not exist”.
– “The social assistant told me I would be sent back to the country that is ready to accept me”.
– A lot of racism. A guard is particularly violent and racist, very provocative.
– 10 security guards beat me: “I am not ok, I have been sick for 3 days. I called the guard to tell him I needed a doctor. He stayed 30 seconds, not even. He told me it would not be possible to go to the infirmary until the day after at 10:30 a.m.”.
– Words by a guard “It is not a hotel here, FUCK YOU!”.
- Retention conditions
-“Showers are disgusting, not enough food, guards are racist.”
– “I want a press article to be written on the situation and the living conditions in the centre.”
- Internal tensions
– Fight in a centre: “I stood up to turn on the light and speak to him but he got scared… he ran out, he thought I was going to beat him although I just wanted to talk to him. He came back with 8 guys (co-retainees), 4 of them were holding me while the others were beating me. I feel very bad, I have bruises everywhere.”
- Hope and despair
-“I am feeling bad, I have been waiting for 12 years and lost my life, I am 38. I don’t have the time anymore! Today I was feeling bad, I banged my hands onto the wall and heating, I scratched razor blades on my arms, I can not stand it anymore. I am sick (stomach pains), at the infirmary they just gave me a pill but it doesn’t work, what is this? Since my time in prison, I have already been to 4 centres, it is too much! I lost my life here. I am thinking a lot, I want to leave. I wanted to live a normal life, I tried but everywhere they refuse to give us documents and then they wonder why we do illegal things in order to survive. I would like to get out of here but they do not give me a second chance. I just want to live a normal life”.
-“If I get out of here, I want to have documents, even only the orange card so I can work, study and get married. If I get out without documents, I won’t know what to do, my life is over.”
-“Please continue to call me, I don’t know what I will become, I really have very dark thoughts.”
– It is like a prison. I never did anything wrong, what have I done to be here? I am only here because I am a Dublin. I need to be safe(…)
– All I want is that they bring me back to the Netherlands where they gave me asylum.
art. on double penalty in France https://www.streetpress.com/sujet/1601975896-prison-centre-retention-double-peine-etrangers-sans-papier -« Dat mag niet zo blijven. het zijn echte folteringen !!!!! »
Call for phone recharges for retainees in the closed centres
We are currently overloaded with requests for phone recharges from people retained in closed centres. You can support them by buying 5 or 10 euros Lycamobile recharges at your grocery shop, night shop or bookshop. You just have to send us the pin code that is written on the recharge to our email gettingthevoiceout(a)riseup.net or by SMS on our mobile number 0032(0)484026781. We will then send the code to the retainees who asked for a recharge and enable them to keep in touch with us and the outside world. I
If it is easier for you, you may also pay 5, 10, 20 euros or more (!) or even better make a standing order on the following bank account: Collectif Contre Les Expulsions
Banque Triodos BE58 5230 8016 1279 BIC: TRIOBEBB