Approximately 50 Congolese citizens have organised a sit-in near the office of Theo Francken, Secretary of State for Asylum, Migration and Administrative Simplification, to protest against the imminent expulsion of 5 illegal Congolese immigrants. They say Belgium continues to deport Congolese citizens despite various reports by human rights organisations complaining of repeated violations of civil rights by the current government of the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo). “Five women, including two over the age of 60 and three over 50, are currently being held at the Steenokkerzeel centre, awaiting their imminent removal to the DRC. A first attempt to deport this group of women was cancelled last November. Two of them have serious health issues and most have strong family ties in Belgium, including Belgian children”, revealed one of the organisers of this protest.
“The Congolese diaspora denounces the way native-born Congolese immigrants are deported, especially the way these women are being treated like criminals, with handcuffs, solitary confinement, raids at their home or searches on public transport. Lastly, the Belgian people, supposedly proud of its values of democracy, justice and fairness, must respect these same values, and not forget the historic role the Congo played in building a strong Belgium,” he added.