16/11/2022 : We are regularly informed of individual hunger and sometimes thirst strikes in the various centres. Some of the detainees demand their release, believing that their imprisonment is unjust. Others refuse to be deported to a country to which they do not want or cannot return. These actions represent for them a final means of resistance. The management of the centres calls them acts of rebellion.
Collective hunger strike at the Merksplas detention centre
Update 19/11/2022 : They stopped their action following threats from the management
We are alerted this 15/11/2022 by the CRACPE* of a collective hunger strike at the Merksplas detention centre:
“They are 32 on hunger strike in one wing and think that the other wings will start tomorrow morning. They denounce:
– not knowing how long their detention is going to last, the administrative slowness, they don’t know anything about their future, the detentions are prolonged continuously from 2 months to 2 months
– the social workers do nothing to help
– they are kept in detention even though the embassies do not issue “laissez-passer”, for example when they have family in Belgium and should be released
– the conditions of detention are unbearable, e.g. lights out and confinement from 10.30 pm, poor quality food, cold at night because the heating is cut off and light duvets
– being put in solitary confinement for any pretext, e.g. keeping a lighter in the pocket, for several days
– limited access to mobile phone…
They demand to meet the director of the “Office des Étrangers”.
Testimony of a detainee: “We are mistreated to break us physically and morally. It is done intentionally. It’s discrimination. I call it torture”.
Update: 16/11/2022: They are still on hunger strike. The management tells them that “it’s Brussels that decides”.
These collective actions are usually very quickly and violently repressed: dungeons and transfers in order to break the protest movement.
Let’s call for solidarity with prisoners arbitrarily detained because they don’t have “the right papers”!
NO ONE IS ILLEGAL.
NO TO CLOSED CENTRES
FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT AND SETTLEMENT FOR ALL!
*The CRACPE (Collectif de Résistance aux Centres pour Etrangers) is a collective from Liège. https://www.cracpe.be/