Escape attempts, suicide attempts, hunger strikes in the closed centres, resistance to deportations


Calls for help and acts of despair in closed centres are countless

Resistance to deportations

A lot of migrants are deported to their Dublin country, before coming back or resuming their migratory route.
Others doomed to be sent back to their ‘country of origin’ strongly refuse and are violently beaten by their escort during the deportation attempt.
Each week we get testimonies about extremely violent deportation attempts.

The latest was on 9 December 2019: ‘She was fetched by force in the beginning of the afternoon, placed in a cell by 6 police officers, 4 men and 2 women. The women remained in the cell. They undressed and tied her. Before boarding the plane they beat her. Once in the plane, she shouted and cried and some passengers reacted. She finally disembarked and was again violently beaten, notably on one hand that was already painful.
The police told her that there was not enough space in Belgium, that it is a small country and that she had to leave.

Small groups of hosts and activitists gather to go to the airport and warn the passengers of the presence of a person who will be deported by force on their flight, when they are aware of it. Some passengers oppose these deportations with determination.

Escape attempts

14 October 2019, Vottem
Around 2 p.m this Tuesday, two retainees tried to escape by scaling the fences. The first one was prevented from doing so by the guards and the second one climbed but fell from 5 metres. He was taken to the hospital, severly wounded.

22 November 2019, 127 bis
A man tried to scale the fences. He got caught and transferred. We lost his trace.

Testimony by a visitor : ‘Mamma mia, my little heart is torn with stress and pain… Sitting in the waiting room, sympathising with the two visitors of our nice Brazilian student (who saw his student visa refused while being in his second year of architecture, living in Belgium for 17 years, speaking 4 languages… and who finally decided to sign the papers for a voluntary return), more than 20 guards in a panic, running shouting to the outside, worried gazes, in radio contact… The guys (and girls) are running to the passage around the backyard, to the corner of the prison (yes indeed, it is a closed centre not a prison, we are fully aware of that!) that gives out to the street. The retainee tried to jump over the high fences (imagine the despair? there is no way to escape from there). He found himself in the passageway, did not manage to cross the second fence and got caught. I saw them all come back, the guy surrounded by two big men, direction confinement cell undoubtedly. I wanted to meet his gaze, to put my hand on the window to tell him that I was with him, but he did not see me. It really broke my heart to see that the guy was ready to try the impossible despite the risks of repression, a punishment even more severe than deprivation of liberty and the promise to be sent backto a country where he no longer wants to be…’.

Suicide attempt:

Vottem 28 November 2019
A man cut his wrists this morning after hearing he would be deported the day after. They took him away and we lost his trace.

Vottem 11 November 2919
A man going to be deported swallowed all the sleeping pills he had for the last 15 days at one go. He fainted. He was brought to the hospital then got released.

Holsbeek 25/10/2019
A woman, desperate because she would be separated from her children in case of deportation cut her wrists. She was taken to the hospital and brought back to the centre after being cured.

127bis 1 December
Message by a co-retainee:
– Two or three weeks ago, an Afghan got a ticket to Poland. He knew that if he returned to Poland he would go to jail for 2 years to then be expelled to Afghanistan. Desperate, he cut his wrists 3 or 4 times with a razor blade. He was sent to the hospital but never came back. His co-retainees ignore what happened to him.

Hunger strike

Many women and men started hunger or thirst strikes, sometimes the only way left to have their claims heard.

Some are maintining their action in spite of the difficulties and the dangers for their health.
After ten days or so they are sometimes placed in confinement cells, but most often a real cell without any medical check. A few disappear or are deported, others end up being released after several weeks.

These cases are only the ones we are being notified of, but we are convinced that, seen the administration pressure of the different closed centres not to reveal this information, these acts of despair unfortunately are far more numerous, so as the forced deportations with escort that happen in complete anonimity at least twice a day!


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