AFGHANISTAN/IRAQ - Tine Danckaers travelled to the Middle East and spoke in Afghanistan and Kurdish Iraq with people who applied for asylum in Belgium but returned to their country of origin 'voluntarily' or after a forced deportation. A dossier on return as part of the European migration policy, the flexible interpretation of security, perspectives or lack thereof, homesickness and paralysis.

Today, Belgium gives protection to four of the five Afghans who apply for asylum in our country. This means a possible forced deportation of the fifth Afghan. Tine Danckaers travelled to Kabul to look for the Afghans who were deported from Belgium. There she met Zaki Ahmadi, a former asylum seeker who was expelled from Belgium after seven years. He was no longer protected by his status as an unaccompanied minor foreigner. He 'drew the wrong ticket'. With this thought, with boredom and homesickness, he had been filling his unemployed days in Kabul for twenty months. She also spoke to Nasir Shinwari. According to his network in Bruges he was a quiet and very pleasant boy, now he seems to be a timid and confused person who desperately clings to the idea that returning to Belgium is still possible.

Last year 196 Iraqis returned to Iraq "voluntarily". For most of these rejected asylum seekers, it is the path of least resistance, the best possible alternative to an illegal life in Europe. But what is it like to have to rebuild your life in such a complex country, such a turbulent region? With that question Tine Danckaers went to Kurdish Iraq and spoke to dozens of returnees. Voluntary return is the only way for Belgium to return Iraqi asylum seekers who have exhausted all legal remedies to their country of birth. After all, the authorities of Central Iraq do not officially allow forced returns from Europe. Reason: the unstable security situation.

Team members

Tine Danckaers

Tine Danckaers is a Belgian journalist. 

€ 5.000 allocated on 21/11/2013.

MAGAZINE (in Dutch)

'Een gratis ticket naar Irak' (MO*, 3/09/2014)

ONLINE (in Dutch)

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