practice of expulsions
examples of group expulsions
occupation of the Martinair headquarters, the 4th of december 1996
Practice of evictions.
Nightly raid/ expulsion in pyjamas.
In the Netherlands at this moment approximately 8000 Iranians are still in uncertainty as to whether they are allowed to stay here. Regularly people in different parts of the country are rounded up and taken to Schiphol Airport. This also leads to great fear and desperation amongst those who are left behind. In this way a Centre for Asylumseekers (AZC) in Leeuwarden was raided by 20 policemen in the middle of the night. A family with two little children was handcuffed and taken to Schiphol in pyjamas.
According to a Serbian neighbour the police stormed into the room and immediately handcuffed the man. The daughters of 11 and 9 years old were carried on the shoulder of the police, crying and in pyjamas. The family could not take any belongings with them although they had stayed in the centre for two years. The belongings are stored on the terrain of the AZC.
Guarding at night.
The Iranians in Leeuwarden are afraid and desperate. At night they keep guard, out of fear that the police will invade another time.
"We are afraid it will happen again. We smoke and talk all through the night. Sometimes two families sleep at the same time, we watch out, so that we can tell each other when something occurs. You can compare our fear with the one we had in Iran. The Iranian police also raids just like that, also never enters through the normal door. We want to give our children security, so we stay awake. It was really sad, especially what happened to the children. No one has had the opportunity to say goodbye." (A family from another AZC was surprised by undercover police october last early in the morning. To prevent eviction the man cut himself in the neck with a piece of mirror. According to fellow inhabitants he was beaten up and forcefully pushed into the car).
Most of the time people are expelled individually via normal airservice. But at the moment the charterflights are very popular. Relatively speaking those are cheaper and other passengers are less troubled by them.
On the 22d of March 1995 the Netherlands organised the first charter. A Martinair Airbus flew 44 Zaireans -25 from the Netherlands, 6 from Germany and 13 from France- to Kinshasa. More than a hundred policemen and officials accompanied the group. The group expulsion mainly had financial advantages.
A charter for big groups is more profitable than individual expulsions, especially if the costs can be shared with another country. As soon as the detentions occured hundreds of Zaireans people went into hiding. Others started a protest by means of a hungerstrike. The day of the expulsison the situation on Schiphol Airport was very chaotic.
Witness: halfnaked woman dragged across the floor.
A Zairean man who also was taken to Schiphol but last minute was saved from expulsion by his lawyer, tells what happened there: 'When we arrived at Schiphol more people were there to be expelled. A family with two children, of whom the eldest girl was in the middle of her final exams. I am taken to an office with about 10 police officers, there I am handed over to the police on Schiphol. After some formalities I am taken to an ajacent room. The wall between this room and the office is made out of glass. In this way I could see how a woman was dragged by her arms into the room by two policemen.
She has a baby who is carried by a female police officer. The woman asks all the time: "why is all this happening", "what is this". She did not want to enter the office because she wanted to talk to her husband first. Then she was dragged across the floor and beaten up. She wore a pagne, she lost the garment. With only nickers on she was laying on the floor with policemen on top who handcuffed her. Then the group was transferred into a big room. When the woman later joined us she wore the garment again. The head of police had promised that she could phone her husband, then she calmed down. Everybody wanted to phone, but it was denied all the time'.
Loss of blood.
Somebody is phoned by a Zairean woman: "It is a chaos here at Schiphol. The military police beats up people with sticks. A pregnant woman walks around naked and loses blood. I think she will have a miscarriage." The husband of this seven months pregnant woman was tied up onto a strap and given an injection.
Others were handcuffed. During the stop in Paris thirteen Zaireans from France, all wrapped up in adhesive tape, were carried on board.
No man from Zaire.
After the landing at the Ndjili Airport the airplane was swarmed with policemen, and the diplomats of the contries concerned were looking on. According to the human rights organisation La Voix des Sans Voix everybody was registered and interrogated by the Snip. The Snip had the disposal of a list of passengers from the Dutch Ambassady. At the interrogation it became clear how careful Europe treats the refugies: six people were not from Zaire, one Ghanesian, one Senegalees, two from the Ivory Coast and two South-Americans (!!) were part of it. They were black, but they did not speak Swahili. With the same airplane these six people went back to the sender.
Packed up as sausages.
In the spring of 1995 the Belgium 'Rijkswacht' (national police) wrote a address of protest against the violence used by people accompanying the 'deportees' from other countries. The Rijkswacht mainly wrote about the 'packed up as sausages' deportees from the Netherlands, who strapped in a straight waistcoat and nailed down on a stretcher were shoved into the airplane to Zaire. Sabena refused several times to take them on board. For the airplane companies it is a lucrative business: for every Dutch deportee who has to go on a strechter six places must be booked.