Hunger strike at the Vottem closed centre

26/04/2017 In a wing of the centre, two Pakistani retainees have been on a hunger/thirst strike for 5 days. They refuse to be deported because they are in danger in Pakistan. They started the hunger and thirst strike after learning that a flight had been booked for them. They are asking us to speak about that, about the insecurity in their country, and one of them also insists on the long term acquaintances and connections he has in Beligum.

In another wing of the centre, two other retainees have been on a hunger strike for 15 days.

Many retainees show solidarity with their action and they support them.

They are protesting against:
– the long retention (up to 8 months), and for some who are willing to return to their countries, their maintenance in retention during months!
– the racism and ill-treatments in the centre. “We are not animals”. “As soon as you make a comment you are being threatened with confinement cell”. “The doctor is letting us die”.
– the illegal arrests: “We are legal, NOT illegal. What is this? They withdrew my card because I no longer had a residence, others’ because they had been to jail, BUT we ARE legal! Personally, I have been living here for 16 years and I have two children. Francken (Secretary of State for Migration) is pulling new undocumented out of his sleeve!”

“This is too much now Madam, we can’t take it anymore”.

They would like to speak to a journalist!

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