The Foreign Office persists in an absurd, arbitrary and inhumane application of the Dublin Regulation by deporting thirty four people by military flight to Croatia. As a reminder, there is a European regulation called ‘Dublin’ which allows the determination of the country responsible for the asylum application according to a whole series of criteria. The most regularly applied criterion is that of the first country of entry of the person into the European Union and where the fingerprints were taken. This allows Belgium to return asylum seekers to their ‘Dublin country’, usually the first country through which they entered the European Union.
A military flight deported this 17/03/2023 thirty four people of different nationalities to Croatia, a country known for its very violent treatment (torture, sexual assaults…) towards people in migration. The abuses of the Croatian state are pointed out by many reports and international organizations. The European Court of Human Rights has also condemned Croatia on those grounds.
We had not previously heard of expulsions by ‘military’ flight organized by the Foreign Office.
This approach shows that the Foreign Office wants to dissuade asylum seekers who have passed through Croatia from applying in Belgium. The OE wants to send the message that people will automatically be sent back.
The persons subject to this removal were all gathered the day before their departure at the closed center 127 bis in Steenokkerzeel. Some of them were transferred, while others were notified of their expulsion on 17 March at 10 a.m.
On the 17th, the detainees at the 127 bis detention center were awakened by the arrival of buses and a large number of police cars.
A detainee present at the time told us: “A bus from the airport came to pick up 34 people. Six were already at 127 bis, the others came from other centers and were brought the day before to 127 bis. We were all woken up by this. There were cops everywhere. We were all shocked.”
One by one, the people were taken away in a vehicle, some of them by force. They were then taken to the airport under police escort.
We learn that some of them arrived in Zagreb.
Among them, a significant number of people of Burundian origin. Members of the Burundian diaspora in Belgium were present at the airport to denounce these expulsions.