On Tuesday, several associations launched a call to demonstrate on Saturday around the detention centre in Vottem. Their plea came after learning of the suicide of a migrant of Eritrean origin. For the Asylum and Immigration Office, the suicide of this individual says nothing in terms of the actual living conditions in the centre, which are considered to be “excellent”.
The suicide is thought to have taken place during the previous night. The individual had been confined for around four months and was suffering tremendously as a result of his detention. A communiqué signed by Médecins du Monde, the CIRÉ (the migrant information and advice service), and CNCD 11.11.11 (which deals with national and international political bodies upon development cooperation and international solidarity) indicated the man’s plight.
Other joint signatories included the Human Rights League, le CRAPCE (Resistance Collective for Asylum and Immigration Centres), the CRER (Collective Against Raids and Expulsions) and the Platform for Refugee Support. The associations add that several witnesses are describing the man as highly depressive and eating very little.
Freddy Roosemont, Director-General of the Asylum and Immigration Office, confirms the suicide in Vottem of a man from Eritrea, He explains, “He had a residence permit in Bulgaria, where he was acknowledged as a refugee.” He goes on, “However, he was not inclined to return to Bulgaria.”
Those detained in Vottem are in shock. Many refused to eat yesterday, according to the associations.
The associations denounce the result of the so-called “harassment policy” conducted by the federal government.
They demand, “After little Mawda, and after the young migrant run over when crossing the motorway to flee the police, after this suicide, who will be the next victim of this policy?”
Mr Roosemont stresses that the incident says nothing about living conditions in the detention centre. He goes on, “Independent bodies regularly audit the detention centre. Living conditions in Vottem have been recognised as excellent. Thousands go through the institution every year. It is thus simply unreal that one individual should die.”
The gathering around the Vottem centre has been announced for this coming Saturday at 3 p.m.
The Brussels Times