Less than 200 people are kept in Detention Centres for Migrants, which have places for up to 600; the Detention Centres are applying the Covid measurest.
They have been kept in these Centres for several months, some up to 9 months, with a view to being deported, even if these deportations are almost impossible to implement; either the flights are not insured or the countries of origin refuse to issue official travel documents. They do not understand why they are kept locked up and classify their detention as torture.
Here we publish an overview of the situation that we are aware of and the struggles, on many levels, of those detained.
Detention centre Bruges
Last week, the people detained went on a hunger strike to protest against their confinement. After 24 hours, seven of them were put in solitary confinement (cachot) and then very were quickly transferred to other Centres.
On 27 July 2020, the people detained, called us again: there are still six in the Centre with 15 security guards. Two of them are in solitary confinement, another has been on hunger strike for four days. They ask us to raise awareness on their situation: “there is no humanity here”.
At the Detention Centre for Migrants 127 bis:
They have about twenty people locked up at the moment.
Many of them have contacted us by phone to try to voice their anger and express their concern for some of their co-detainees.
1 July 2020: following the solitary confinement of one of the detainees, because he had demanded his rights, a solidarity movement was formed. All the inmates of the R wing demanded to be also placed in solitary because they also want to claim their rights!
Other detainees want to return to their country of origin, but their flight tickets are repeatedly cancelled: “Here it is not only physical but above all psychological abuse”. “They play with people, they have pushed me to the limit, I’m losing my mind. I want my freedom back. It’s my right.”
“I am full of rage and hate. I have been in Belgium for 27 years. I used to love this country. Now I understand why people become terrorists. Its like the Nazi system here”.
25 July 2020: “We must help this man madam. He is not well, he has fits and falls unconscious. He hallucinates and does not sleep at night. He tells us that the devil is coming to his room. He is very afraid. He is sick. He does not belong here, he needs treatment. Something has to be done.”
Others claim their rights and continue the fight, despite being repressed and daily threats of solitary confinement: “I prefer to continue fighting rather than fall into depression.” “Do they really think we’re afraid of being in solitary confinement?”
Closed centre Merksplas:
Many of the detainees have been there for several months. They live in hope: social workers tell them that after eight months they will be released, so they wait (most of them have already been there more than eight months!).
A man telephones us on the 28 July 2020: after a week’s imprisonment, he wants to contact a “human rights” lawyer to file a complaint.
A Guinean man was released today after 9 months of detention.
An Ethiopian man was released after seven months of detention and two attempted deportation: he also expresses his incomprehension in the face of injustice: “Why did I stay so long? Why am I labelled as ‘aggressive’ when I have suffered a violent arrest, “like in America”? ” “No luck” he said. He left to try to find a more hospitable land: “Belgium system is no good”.
Detention Centre Caricole:
Expulsion at any cost: 25 July 2020: two women seeking asylum were detained for several months and received a call from Brussels Airlines offering them to leave voluntarily to their country of origin, that they would find a flight and that they might be alone on the plane.
One of them tells us: “They take us for cattle, I told this woman ‘no’, that she does not know my life, that she does not know what will happen to me when I arrive in my country of origin”. They told her that next time, she would be escorted by the police and that it would be better if this could be avoided.
An Open letter has been published in this regard: https://www.gettingthevoiceout.org/ils-ont-tue-une-femme-pas-son-combat/
28 July 2020, they were finally released.
An inmate who has been locked up for several months and cannot be deported: “Let me at least go to my brother’s house. I’m so tired, I’m exhausted, I’m locked up, I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to do anything I will regret, I’m fed up. I want to start my life again. I have no one in Morocco, so when I get there I’ll be leaving.
SUPPORT AND RESIST!
CLOSE THE DETENTION CENTRES!