After 2 suicides which took place at the Merkplas centre and in the Fedasil building last Thursday, over 200 undocumented migrants protested in Rue de la Loi in Brussels, in front of the office of Theo Francken, Secretary of State for Asylum, Migration and Administrative Simplification, from 11:30am to 01:30pm on Thursday. The Brussels Undocumented Migrants organisation points out that 25-year-old Omar Dansokho – the young man who died at the Neder-Overheembeek military hospital on Friday after setting himself on fire in the Fedasil building on Thursday – regularly took part in the weekly protests in front of the office of the secretary of state. His body will be sent back to Guinea next Tuesday and a religious ceremony is scheduled for Friday at the Guinean Mosque in Schaerbeek’s Rue de la Poste.
The organisation also highlights that the second suicide, 42-year-old Benamar, had been living in Belgium for 16 years and no longer had any ties to Morocco whatsoever. Living at the closed centre of Merkplas for the last 2 months, he started a hunger strike, and committed suicide just before the second attempt at deporting him.
Samba, spokesperson for Voice of the Undocumented Migrants, is reiterating the organisation’s demand to be heard by Theo Francken: “If people rather kill themselves than go back to their country of origin, this means we have reached breaking point.” Oscar Flores, coordinator of the group against raids, expulsions and for regularisation (CRER), deplores the fact that “so far, he has taken no humanitarian decision, only repressive measures.”