söndag 19 maj 2013

Hello everybody,

Please, be so kind to forgive me my bad english.
Here's an overview of what is happening in the detention centers of
Schiphol Airport and Rotterdam in the Netherlands at the moment.

During a noise demo on the 5th of May, we managed to get in touch with
people inside and they told us that a group of more then 20 refugees had
started a hungerstrike since the 1st of May. We published the news.
After we did so, the management of Schiphol started extreme pressure on
the refugees to break the hungerstrike. People were thrown in isolation
cells that were too cold, where they only had a matrass and a blanket, no
clothes or underwear, but only a tear shirt, bright lights constantly on
People were threatened with more measures, independent doctors were denied
access to the detention centre. One person was, in reaction to his
participation with the hungerstrike, about to be deported to a country
that was not even his country of origin, but we managed to stop the
deportation by pressuring the air company and threatening them with
publicity and charges.

On the 6th of May, a vaste group of refugees started a hunger and
thirststrike in detention center Rotterdam. Nessar, the spokesman of the
group of more then 100 refugees of different departments in the centre,
managed to force an agreement with the CEO's that people in hungerstrike
would not be put in isolation cells. The agreement was supported by the
Union of Refugee Lawyers.
But in the night of the 9th of May, Nessar was suddenly transferred to a
department with only empty cells. He was able to give an update by phone
and told us that the cell was kept too cold on purpose, that he didn't
have his own clothes at his disposition and that he was locked in
isolation of the others of the group.
In the meantime, the other refugees in hunger and thirststrike were
seriously put under pressure, by threatening with isolation cells or
immediate deportation. The Ministry of Safety and Justice stated by press
release that 'the vast majority of the group gave up the protest'.

The 'independent doctor' that visited the hungerstriking refugees turned
out to be owner of a private company providing doctors to detention
centers. The team of real independent doctors were denied access,
according to the management of the detention centre because the refugees
had stated that they didn't want another doctor. We have spoken several
refugees inside who clearly stated that they didn't trust the medical team
of the detention centre and that they needed another team.

On Saturday the 11th of May, the situation of Nessar, the isolated
thirststriker, became critical, as his kidneys showed signs of failure. He
signed a declaration saying that, even if he would lose consciousness, he
did not give permission to be hospitalize or to be administered artifical
nutrition or medication.
In reaction, the management ordered the guards to keep him awake at night,
which is a well known torture method.

Despite his declaration, Nessar was transferred to a medical penitentiary
today, against his will. Here, he will be force-fed, even if force-feeding
is considered as torture.

Not once did the management of the detention centres showed any
willingness to talk about the demands of the refugees: freedom and
protection. Not once did the Ministry respond to the clear protest of the
refugees: we are not criminals and we don't want to be treated as
The main stream media ignores the facts about detention practices and
minimalizes the hungerstrikes.

In the meantime, the calls on the alarm phone keep coming in. Refugees
tell us how medical care is systematically denied, how they are thrown in
isolation cells for a week - even for a simple thing as sharing your food
with your cellmate. How they are locked in their own cells for three days,
just for questioning the utterly racist behaviour of the guards. We have
spoken to several people who came to the Netherlands with legal papers,
but who were thrown in jail anyway, or who have seen their residence
permit being withdrawn with no apparent reason.
The majority of the people we have spoken to in the last week has children
and see their families torn apart, for more then a year because of
detention of one of the parents, or even permanently because one of the
parents is deported.

Migrant detention can last up to one year and a half in the Netherlands.
The 'reasons' to be put in isolation cell are numerous and the number of
time people are put in isolation is hardly registered.
Isolation cells only have a matrass, a camera and a toilet. People only
have a tear shirt and are not allowed to wear underwear. The cells are too
cold, by the use of ventilators directed to the matrasses. The lights are
not turned off at night.
Visitations are standard procedure. A woman who was raped in her country
of origin and refused visitation, was visitated by force, one leg fixed by
a chain, by a male guard - thus raped again.
Refugees who need medical care in a hospital are often not transported to
the hospital. If they are allowed to visit the hospital, it will be hand
and anckle cuffed.
No information is given to the refugees inside about their procedures. One
can be kept for months, be deported without the lawyer having the time to
start a procedure or be kicked out on the streets - apparently random.

A TV journalist asked me this week to describe the situation inside
detention centres in one word. I said: a modern concentration camp. He was
all indignified - how could I dare to compare the horrors of the Second
World War with the situation right now, knowing that hideous things
happened in concentration camps. I said, because hideous things happen
right now, right here.

Besides the fact that the whole country is covered by cams, a large number
of municipalities now have drones surveilling from 6pm untill 5am. No, I'm
not kidding. Activists face serious repression. One of us was convicted to
four months of prison, just for publishing texts on the internet. We, the
Deportation Resistance group, are under close surveillance - and then I
really mean close surveillance; my children and visitors are followed and
ID checked.

Please, show solidarity, in whatever way. Kick ass at the Dutch embassies
or do whatever you think might be a good idea.
Dutch authorities apparently decided to take a leading role in fascist
policies in Europe and this is getting completely out of hand here.

In solidarity,

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