The resistance in deportation centres 03/02/2021

127 bis detention centre in Steenokkerzeel

There are 15 people in the L1 wing of the 127 bis detention centre, including three in confinement.

  • On 1 February 2022, they decided to go on hunger strike to protest against :Their detention conditions
  • A lack of clear information on the duration of their detention. They never know how long they will stay: “It’s a lottery”. They refuse endless detention.

They ask for :

  • Their release even if they have an OQT
  • Stop deportations to their country of origin “where the majority of us will not be welcome”.
  • Respect from the staff in the closed centre
  • We want public opinion with us
  • To be treated as human beings: with dignity
  • A change in the reception system
  • Contact with the press
  • We ask for solidarity

And tell us:

  • “Free us and let us try elsewhere.
  • We can accept the negative procedures, we respect that, but release us and let us try elsewhere.
  • We still have a life ahead of us, let us live our lives with dignity”
  • “Everyone has the right to live”.

At the time of the walk they decided to refuse to go back to their room. The security staff came and explained that the management would come and discuss with them the next day, adding that if they refused to go back up it would be with force, even if it meant calling the police. Finally, following these threats, they went back to their room and are waiting for the meeting with the management.

On the 2nd of February, they discussed with the management who told them that they could not do anything about the decisions of the CGRA or the OE, but that they would try to do what they could in the centre.

AUDIO (FR)Here two of the hunger strikers from the 127bis closed centre explain the reasons for their action and why they decided not to return after the “walk” in the yard: translation of the testimony below

BRUGGE detention centre :  

They are 15.

  • They ask for “respect”: “we are not pigs”
  • They protest against the presence of a minor among them: “we don’t lock up children with adults, he’s like our little brother”
  • They complain about the lack of medical care and hygiene. 
  • Following the Covid 19 they are forbidden to have video sessions with their family and visits are reduced, 
  • They also mention the racism of the staff

and tell us:    

we don’t want a lawyer. These centres should just not exist.

They demand the closure of all closed centres!


Merksplas closed centre:  

All are diagnosed as covid and in quarantine:

this centre must be closed”.

Closed centre for women in Holsbeek :   

All in quarantine since this 02/02/2022: no more visits from lawyers or friends. They are locked in their room 23 hours a day.        


Translation of the AUDIO testimony :

Two of the hunger strikers from the 127bis detention centre explain the reasons for their action and why they decided not to return after the “walk” in the yard.

“It’s not really going well, it’s not going well at all. People have started a hunger strike here. Ah, it’s hot, everyone this time. No one’s going to go home after the walk, everyone’s going to stay out in the cold. Yeah, that’s got to change, obviously.- How many of you are there?- Thirteen. Yeah, because there’s not that many people here at the moment. – Okay, and how long have you all been on hunger strike?- Since this morning. – And you’re going to stay in the yard at 3:00 this afternoon, right?- Yeah, yeah.- And what do you want?- In a few days, it will be eight months for me and three months for others. There’s been a minor here for maybe three months. People are here and there’s no follow-up. Always negatives, negatives. And their only problem is to tie us up and bring us back to the problems that await us. It’s been negative and we haven’t been granted asylum, okay. But let us take our chances elsewhere and try to have our own life. Because they’re going to tie us up and put us on a plane to bring us back to face the death that awaits us, it’s not their problem. And afterwards, they will say that they were able to save that life. For lack of evidence, they bring you back to face the problems that await you. Eight months on and there’s no follow-up, you’re not released, you’re here like this. You haven’t committed any crime, you’re in prison like that, like a criminal. Here, everything is negativity, everything is negativity. All they have is back, back, back. If we could have gone back, we wouldn’t have stayed there for more than eight months. We didn’t commit any crime to be imprisoned like this. We ran away from a problem to be imprisoned? Ah, frankly it’s too hard, it’s too hard. There are other people who want to talk. 
– Hello? Hello. We have been here since this morning. Nobody eats, nobody does anything here. We decided at 3pm on the walk there that we don’t need to go back, we’re going to stay in the cold, here it complicates things. We really need your help, frankly.”

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