“No need to frighten me, I will not sign anyway…”

7/11/12 Interview of a father living with his family in a return house. We haven’t had any news from them since the interview.

21/11: Family is always in Zulte!

Listen here in Nederlands:


Since when have you been living in Belgium?
Since 1999, 13 years. I followed Dutch classes, studied auto mechanic and got my diploma.
I am living in Belgium, I am married and I have two children: one daughter who is 1 and one son who is 3. I introduced a regularisation request but the answer was negative. The police came one morning, at 5:30 a.m and they took all the family to the police station. There we spoke with Brussels and they told us that there was an order to leave the territory for us since October 23rd.

I want to live in Belgium, I am fully integrated here, my older son goes to school (he will soon be 4) and my daughter goes to the kindergarten.

At the police station they took our fingerprints and they took pictures of us. Then they brought us back to the return house in Zulte. It’s a house where we will have to stay until they deport us to Armenia.

Several times they asked me to sign (voluntary return) and I clearly said that I could not sign because I don’t have anything in Armenia and I can not go back there. They don’t want to understand and they threaten me, saying that if I don’t sign they will take us to the airport the first time and the second time they will take us to the police station, arrest us and bring us to the airport. I told them not to frigthen me because I wouldn’t sign anyway.

You don’t know anyone in Armenia? Your country is Belgium, right?
Yes, I am integrated here. I speak Dutch as you can hear. I have lived longer in Belgium than in Armenia.

How is it like in the house they call ‘return house’?
Well, it is a house. We get meals cheques of 60 EUR per week to go to the shop. I must stay here until they bring us back to Armenia. I don’t want to, and I want to avoid that they come supposedly to help my family.

You have been here for 13 years. How can you explain that your regularisation request was rejected?
My parents had problems with the police. For them we are all in the same and only file. They should try to analyse my personal case. What have I done wrong since 1999? I never did anything wrong, I never was controlled by the police, I never had any problem with them.

And where are your parents?
They are in the closed centre of Zaventem.

Were they arrested with you?
Yes, the same morning. They want to sign to return to Armenia but I don’t.

The problem is that the file they have is including you and your parents?
Yes, they made a common file for the whole family, and they say that it is a criminal file. I told them to review my file. My file is very good. The only problem is that I had to change my name. We came here with my parents who were in big troubles and we gave a fake name. My parents did that. Later I rectified it at the commune, through my lawyer, with my passport. They say we lied. But well, it was at the time we were with our parents, they had decided that, we were much too young to do anything against that. Now I can no longer work since I don’t have a residence permit anymore.

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