News from the closed Centres, 1 May 2012

Closed Centre 127bis Steenokkerzeel

– A Congolese woman, was released with an order to leave the territory after almost six months in prison.
Listen to her interview here

– In the night from 25th to 26th of April, violent altercations took place between detainees. The security was reinforced for the week-end.

– An Iraqi was deported on the 24th of April, his wife on the 25th.

– We got one text message : “Please can you help, I would like to transform myself into a pigeon and fly away”.

– A five month pregnant Angolan woman is in centre 127bis and would be deported to Spain. She refused the first attempt, a second attempt has been cancelled.

– Renovation in progress of a wing of the 127bis centre that had been damaged in 2011 and was not functional for more than a year.

– Official opening of the “Caricole” that would progressively be operational during May!

Merksplas and Bruges

Very few information. They are all very scared and trust no one. The proposal of voluntary return under threat is at its height.

Read an interesting article on voluntary returns in the black books of the CRER:


A wing remains closed due to a lack of personnel.

One detainee redefines the detention centre: “Vottem, Concentration Centre of Ex-Colonised African Foreigners”.

Other news:

We have heard that Congolese people who reach the airport with a visa of less than six months will be systematically turned back. Two Congolese coming from Kinshasa spent a few days in 127bis and were sent back to their country. We also heard that Congo would refuse to deliver laissez-passer to people subject to forced deportations; which may explain why the military flight to Congo did not leave!

The Guinean community demonstrated this Friday 28 April against dictatorship, and to call for the cancellation of deportations: they learnt that during the collective flight to Guinea the month before, several persons disappeared and at least one of them got beaten then hospitalised and has disapparead now!
A report on Guinea here :

News from elsewhere

A Frontex flight was planned from the Netherlands to Iraq: the flight was cancelled because the Iraqi authorities refused to deliver laissez-passer. Ninety-seven Iraqis were released from closed centres!

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