Thursday, June 07, 2007


The author writes from personal experience having been imprisoned for 6 months at a Belgium detention camp .

The Kingdom of Belgium Government's inhuman Asylum and Immigration Laws are coming to a state of explosion. In 1998, Belgium built more than five detention camps and all are functioning proper. For example, VOTTEM, Liège detention camp is made up of four sections in a cross form. Each section is made up of twelve rooms. And each room is made up of two wooden double bunks that contain four persons in a room. This VOTTEM is a closed camp that you have no access to your freedom. And the same situation applies to other camps in Belgium. They used the same design as Hitler's detention camps in the 1930s and built their own.

It is unfortunate that the people kept there are mostly immigrants from Africa, Asia, South America and Eastern Europe. These people did not commit any crime. Only that they are on their asylum procedure. They are locked up for good eight months without release. Does that reflects democracy in a country that claims advance and the capital of Europe? There was an Algerian that was detained in Vottem for eleven good months because of papers , without compensation.

In every detention camps in Belgium contains one hundred and sixty (160) detainees. And the United Nations pay two hundred Dollars ($200.00) per person everyday. And these centres spend about ten Dollars ($10.00) per person everyday. Belgium is rated as the number one racist nation in the whole world. In 1998, five Belgium Gendarmerie killed a Nigerian lady called SAMIRA ADAMU and no compensation was made to the deceased's family. Belgium have formed many kangaroo tribunals that are made up of three to five persons to judge whether an illegal immigrant have the right to be released from the detention closed camp. These are businesses, they do nothing to help the immigrants but to detain them more in order to make more profits. These people appointed to head the tribunals cannot act as the law stipulates but wait for an instruction from the Office des Etrangers or the foreign office in Brussels. Therefore, the tribunal in Liege and other places in Belgium are there to mark time for the immigrants to stay more in the detention camps. In nutshell, the more months you stay in the detention camp, the more money they get for you.

Lest I forget, the Belgium tribunals are made up of the judge, the clerk, the prosecutor, the accused immigrant, your lawyer and two policemen that will bring you out from the court cell in handcuffs to the tribunal panel. No observer or reporter is allowed to enter the tribunal hall. Everything about the tribunal is top secret. Also, they will not allow you to bring in your private lawyer. The immigrant is only allowed to go to tribunal with their own government appointed lawyer. Does this inhuman attitude reflect a thorough democracy as Belgium's claims to be?

In the detention camps AIDS can be easily transmitted through blood transfusion. This is because ten detainees use one disposable shaving stick per day. Of course it is not hygienic for anybody to use one disposal shaving stick with another person.

These groups of vandals, i.e. the Ministry of Interior, the Judiciary, the police and the airlines have connived to operate this kind of mafia capitalism in order to enrich themselves. In this situation, they take their so-called illegal immigrants to the Zaventum airport for deportation without the consent of the Embassy of that immigrant. The worst part of it is that the day of the deportation date the security in the detention camp will take you secretly without the knowledge of other detainees and put you alone in a solitary confinement where you will be ex-communicado till the day of your deportation. Surprisingly, you will see yourself to the tarmac where the plane is already waiting to fly and they will tell you to enter and go to your country just like that. Some immigrants fly home just because of fear of four policemen that will be mounting pressure for you to go back to your country. Already you will be traumatised after passing through mental torture. Some immigrants having no choice of help at that point in time will decide to fly irrespective of the danger awaiting them in their respective countries. Where on earth does this type of illegal action happen? Nowhere except in Belgium.

It is obligatory for Belgium to take immigrants to the airport for deportation. But, where the person refuse to travel to his or her country, they will feel happy to bring you back to the detention camp and keep you for extra two months or more in order to make more money from you. It is surprising to every detainee that before they bring you back to the detention camp a letter for refusing to travel is awaiting you from the foreign office to the detention camp for signing. And this happens even on weekends when no official duty is carried on. This will enable one to know that every detention camp in Belgium is for profit.

The food and drinks that they supply to prison and detention camps are free by from the manufacturers. Sometimes, it will remain some days to the expiring date and the detainees will still eat them because they have no choice.

In the Article 31 of the 1951 Refugee Convention prohibits the imposition of penalties on account of illegal entry or presence of people seeking protection. Our higher courts have agreed. Large compensation payments continue to be made for wrongful convictions or detentions. But Belgium does the opposite.

In March 2003, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reminded all States to "take concrete steps to ensure that refugees and asylum seekers are not subject to punishment". But Belgium does the opposite. From the look of things, I don't think that the United Nations are doing enough to protect refugees in Belgium. Refugees and asylum seekers are facing a lot of police control in Belgium. And nobody comes to their aid. It is inimical and criminal that a country that calls herself a developed nation is still practising the Nazi system of 1930 ideology. It is the right time that the world should rise against the Belgium attitude of detaining immigrants unlawfully without compensation as stated by the United Nations Refugee Convention of 1951.

Dele Iloyana , ex-detainee , 26 January 2004

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