The ‘Office des Étangers’, in collaboration with the Frontex agency, has organised a special flight for 14 Congolese whose application for international protection has not been granted, 8 of whom are locked up in Belgian detention centres. https://afrique.lalibre.be/73630/belgique-un-vol-special-pour-rapatrier-14-congolais-deboutes-dune-demande-dasile/
This new expulsion is part of a collaboration between the ‘Office des Étrangers’ and the Frontex agency, whose well-documented abuses are strongly criticised. More information on the Abolish Frontex campaign: https://fr.abolishfrontex.org/
We learn from co-detainees at 127bis on 15/11/2022: “Yesterday morning a large busload of Congolese from other centres was loaded. And a mass of cops escorting them.” A guard said to a detainee “we’re going to throw them out in their country”.
- Situations of some of these “asylum seekers”:
- There were two women. One of them, quite old, married and in Belgium for 11 years: at the centre, they had told her that as long as they were polite and calm, they could refuse the flight as many times as they wanted, but if they made trouble, they would be forced.
- A man who arrived in Belgium when he was 10 years old was violently abducted by the federal police in the centre of Merksplas two days before the deportation: https://www.gettingthevoiceout.org/repressions-en-centre-ferme/
- A man arrested at the airport in June 2022: he had applied for asylum in Greece, had spent a year in the camps in Moria without being able to obtain a response to his asylum application. He managed to reach Belgium. On arrival at the airport, he applied for asylum and was locked up. After a negative decision by the CGRA, he was subjected to a first expulsion attempt on 30/09/2022 to the DRC. He told us in the centre: “it’s the stress, I feel very bad”, “it’s really very difficult, especially for my mind. I didn’t imagine that it was like this”.
- A seriously ill man living in Belgium for several years.
- A man living in Belgium for 10 years. He has 3 children in Belgium.
- A man living in Belgium for 8 years, arrested at work on 29/06/2022. At the centre, he had applied for asylum which was refused. He had undergone a first expulsion attempt on 24/09/2022.
Everything happened in total discretion. In some centres, the people selected for these operations were summoned by the social worker and put in solitary confinement immediately without being able to inform their family or lawyers.
Each situation is different: many of them have been living in Belgium for years and have applied for regularisation, have been arrested during controls and detained in a closed centre because they are “undocumented”. They were forced to apply for asylum in the centre in order to be released.
Nicole De Moor went to the DRC the week of 13/11/2022 to sign a new return agreement for rejected asylum seekers. https://demoor.belgium.be/fr/contact
Nicole De Moor, Secretary of State for Migration, calls people who have been living in Belgium for years and have been refused regularisation “asylum seekers”.
FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT and INSTALLATION
REGULARISATIONS FOR ALL
History of collective deportations to the DRC in recent years, to our knowledge :
28/11/2017: Collective deportation to Guinea and DRC.
26/03/2019: Collective deportation flight to Guinea, DRC and Senegal.
17/12/2020: Expulsion in a private jet of 2 Congolese: in the plane 2 expellees escorted by 9 members of the federal police. https://www.gettingthevoiceout.org/empechons-une-expulsion-vers-la-rdc-ce-17-12-2020/.
19/02/2022: Collective flight to the DRC with, to our knowledge, 3 men and one woman locked up in the Belgian centres.
Not to mention individual deportations by commercial flights.
For more information on the deportations:
Myria Doc, https://www.myria.be/fr/publications/myriadoc-11-retour-detention-et-eloignement : “Of the 648 people repatriated with escort,205 were repatriated via the 43 special flights organised in 2019. 40 of these flights were to Albania (93%), 1 to Albania and Georgia, 1 to Nigeria and 1 to DR Congo and Guinea.”Germany, Hungary, Austria, the Netherlands and Switzerland also participated in the flight organised by Belgium to the DRC and Guinea.Of the 205 people removed in 2019 via a special flight, 195 (95%) were Albanians, 4 Guineans (2%), 3 Congolese (DR Congo), 2 Georgians and 1 Nigerian.”