News from the collective flight to Congo on November 4th 2014

The collective flight had 19 Belgian Congolese and 3 Congolese from Bulgaria and Finland to be deported according to the Foreigners Office, flight coordonate by Frontex. It had a stop over in Niger to then land in Kinshasa during the night. They were 29 (this figure has been confirmed) to wait in the Kinshasa airport-after going through the immigration apparently without any problem- for a bus to come and take them.

This afternoon on November 5th, the bus came to pick them up to bring them to the ANR (National Intelligence Agency), an extremely powerful body in DRC, having an extremely bad reputation!

A few hours later, we got a phone call from Kinshasa:
‘Theoretically, everyone was released’
‘They were 22 (18 from Belgium, 3 from Finland and 1 from Romania)’
‘Each detainee was accompanied by two escort guards during the whole flight’
‘They were identified by the General Direction of Migrations and transfered to ANR’
‘They were released on discharge by a parent or a tutor’

Let’s remind an order by the Congolese Ministry of Interior distributed to high civil servants of this National Intelligence Agency (ANR), to the police and General Direction of Migrations (revealed by a secret document mentioned in ‘The Observer’ last February): “Above all, be on the lookout for those who came back to the country after being deported’ (…). Agents are invited to ‘be more rigourous’ (…) The treatment reserved to these persons is obvious: torture and any other thing must be in the biggest discretion. These orders had to be executed in a perfect way.’

An investigation mission by the Home Office (United Kingdom Ministry of Interior) published in November 2012 mentions eight Human Rights organisations in DRC that denounce the fact that deported asylum seekers were running heavy risks of torture upon their return.

According to a report by the judge after the observation of 11 DRC deported from the United Kingdom in a time span until September 2013, nine had been detained, eight imprisoned and two were dead, apparently after being beaten heavily by Congolese officers. It is clear that the fate reserved to deported people from Belgium, Bulgaria or elsewhere will be the same. Once more, one may wonder what kind of investigation is being made by our Minisry of Interior, what kind of review for each dossier established by the Foreigners office or the CGRA? Are there any? We think that some of them did not even see someone at the Embassy but would have got European let-passes! It is the eternal argument put forward to introduce ‘legality’ in these inhuman practices.

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