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  1. 1. Return and reintegration NUMBER 02-august 2007 Table of contents Ever more applications for guidance 63 dossiers concerning 107 persons in first half of 2007 Preface: Ever more applications The Return and Reintegration Unit is go- same project in Hamburg (21-23 May). ing at full speed. This is showing from the Interview: first semi-annual figures published in this An interview with social assistant very newsletter. We’ve opened 63 dossi- Sabine ers concerning a 107 persons in the first 6 Statistics & analysis: months of the year. Whilst many of these Number of partner countries on the dossiers concern a request to our struc- rise tural partners, we receive more and more applications for guidance throughout the Trainingreport: whole world. Training period visit to London part- ner Apart from an analysis of our figures we would like to enlighten you also on the work Q & A: done by one of our social assistants as well What about hepatitis b in Georgia? as on the importance of the cooperation be- tween the social services and our unit. They News: Migration: our recommendations to are after all the first contacts for a potential the future government returnee. Not only is a good knowledge required of The Return Unit together with the opera- anything concerning reintegration, also the tional partners cooperation with the returnee and the social assistant is of crucial importance when it comes to making a good start in the country Partner Meeting of origin. In the upcoming months we will be focussing We are very well aware of the fact that for on the preparations for our Partner Meeting. the social worker the dossier is not a closed Together with our operational partners we case once the person has left Belgium. Es- will then evaluate the voluntary return pro- pecially upon arrival and even after several gramme with the possibility of reintegration. months we want to bring news of the re- At the same time the ERSO partners will go turnee. through their training course in Belgium. Training This will be an opportunity not only to get acquainted with the Belgian migration policy In the course of these last few months we and more specifically the possibility of rein- have collaborated intensively in the training sessions at the CAW’s (Centrum Algemeen tegration Maatschappelijk Werk – Centre for Social Work) which where organized by Vlaams for voluntary returnees, but also to meet with Minderheden Centrum (VMC – Flemish Cen- our partners from the countries of origin. tre for Minorities) and in which voluntary re- turn and the different reintegration projects Anne Dusart Caritas International were presented. Return and reintegration We have taken part in training courses or- ganized within the European network (ERSO Liefdadigheidstraat 43 project) in Vienna (organized by Caritas Aus- 1210 Brussels tria), Hanover (Raphaëls-Werk) and London (Refugee Action). Afterwards all our employ- Anne Dussart: +32 2 2293604 ees had a positive impression of these train- Bart Cosyns: +32 2 2293602 ing courses. Annelieke Carlier: +32 2 2293586 Thomas Jezequel: +32 2 2111052 Dynamics It is clear that every country within the ERSO project has created its own dynamics con- cerning voluntary return. This became obvi- ous during the conference devoted to the
  2. 2. RETURN AND REINTEGRATION 02-august 2007 2 Return and Reintegration Unit active in ever more countries Caritas International giving guidance to 107 persons from more than 15 countries The Caritas International Belgium Return and Reintegra- first place people are hoping to get material support in this way, tion Unit has extended the number of countries with which e.g. furniture. Professional equipment, the financing of a small it cooperates within the framework of the voluntary return of asylum seekers. With that Caritas International has enterprise, a temporary stay, health care or an education con- opted in the first place for a cooperation with local organi- stitute an important incentive as well. sations within the Caritas network. Caritas can spend 700 euros on a single person and 2100 eu- In January Caritas International Belgium was cooperating with ros for a single woman with children. On average the budget five countries (Armenia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Serbia and Ukraine) amounts to 1162 euros. for the guidance of returnees. Meanwhile that number has risen to more than 15. But the bulk of returnees is still yet origi- nating from the five aforementioned countries. Bart Cosyns/Thomas Jézéquel Of the 63 dossiers that we’ve been treating until 30th June 34 concern one of these five countries. Ukraine beats them all with ten returnees, followed by Armenia(9), Serbia (9), Bulgaria (4) and Georgia (2). The other 29 dossiers have to do with new countries all over the world. For the moment being we are working on three dossiers in Nepal as well as in Mongolia. The majority of these dossiers come to us through the social service of Caritas International Belgium and the REAB partners in Brussels, Flanders and the Walloon provinces. The remain- ing dossiers are brought to us directly via FEDASIL. Social Services In the last months we have been visiting several social services and forging ties with organisations that assist migrants in Number of voluntary returnees in the first half of 2007 Bruges, Gent, Ostend, Tongeren, Hasselt, Antwerp, Kortrijk, Arendonk, Liege, Charleroi, Namur, Verviers, Arlon and Mons. An important part of the job consists in finding new partners in the different countries and building relationships based on trust with an eye to the best possible guidance of the returnees. Preference is given to members of the international Caritas network, as is the case e.g. in Niger and Burundi. In some countries we can also count on our expatriates whom we can very easily get in touch with. Being part of the international Caritas network frequently opens many doors. We’re working together very well with the local Caritas organisations, although it may sometimes require some power of persuasion. In Romania we’re collaborating with someone working for Caritas whom we’ve met in the frame- work of an ERSO project. Reasons for voluntary return Local customs Trying to understand local practices and customs remains a constant process, which does require a little patience from time to time. With the Asian Caritas organisations we can keep in contact via email on a daily basis. But in African countries email is checked on average only once a week. Therefore it is a good thing that we’ve recently been able to meet up in The Hague and Brussels with representatives of Caritas Togo, Be- nin, Cameroon, Burundi, Rwanda and Mongolia. There we have had the occasion to present them our projects exten- sively. In the last week of August we will be visiting some families in Serbia. At the end of the year then we will organize some more trips to evaluate the situation on the ground. There can be sev- Organizations submitting the dossiers with Caritas eral reasons to partake in a reintegration programme. In the
  3. 3. RETURN AND REINTEGRATION 02-august 2007 3 « Permanent follow up is important » Social assistant Sabine guided Roberto at his return to Brazil Brazilian Roberto was living with his boyfriend at a riding school in Belgium. He was beaten by him he said. But the main reason he wanted to return to Brazil was because he was HIV positive. It was Sabine, working at a social service in Brussels, who guided him at his return to Brazil. She is still today following up his situation. Sabine: Roberto was staying in Belgium since October 2005. Two years later, in March 2007, he knocked at our door. He was living with his boyfriend and working in a riding school. Hij told me that he was battered by his boyfriend and that he had left him. He showed me his injuries and told me that he had filed a complaint with the police. Roberto also told me he wanted to go back to Brazil. What was his reason for wanting to return to Brazil? Well, when I started asking more questions he turned out to be HIV positive. He had heard the bad news only 2 months be- fore. I told him that he could apply for a regularisation on the basis of his medical condition. He could then be taken care of in Belgium and, who knows, stay here. After giving it some serious thought he decided to go back to Brazil; he wanted to be in his familiar surroundings while being ill. He was still a bit afraid to return given the fact that his father is a protestant min- ister who wasn’t at all aware of Roberto’s homosexuality, let alone his medical condition. Because of his problems and his illness I therefore decided to propose him the reintegration programme. Roberto (on the left) with his Brazilian boyfriend What has the Reintegration Fund done for Roberto? Roberto had some preparatory talks with Caritas. He left in through with Caritas so that I was kept abreast of his condition. April 2007. He wanted to spend the medical budget mainly on his medical follow up. Upon arrival in Brazil the partner of Cari- Do you have any criticism towards the Reintegration tas was waiting for him. They brought Roberto to his family’s Fund? house. Well, I find feedback to us social workers very important. I want At Roberto’s request they kept their discretion about his condi- to know how my client is carrying on. In some cases I think that they could do better. And another thing I would change If I had the chance is that I would give more money to the people. 700 euros is an absolute minimum and is often not sufficient to set up a small business or anything of the kind. On the other hand we have to remain vigilant. not to attract the wrong people. I only propose the programme to those who really need it. … and what about the positive aspects of the Reintegra- tion Programme? The application and the returning process in itself as well as the guidance on the spot pass off smoothly. At last we can offer something concrete to people that want to return to their land of origin. In the meantime it has become a trusted working tool that I am glad to propose to those who are in need of it. Sabine (on the right) guides Roberto at his return Annelieke Carlier tion but they accompanied him to the hospital on several occa- sions. Roberto underwent a number of medical examinations and got treatment. In the meantime everything was talked
  4. 4. RETURN AND REINTEGRATION 02-august 2007 4 Return and Reintegration Unit on training course at London partner In the framework of a European exchange of experiences concerning voluntary return we went on a training course at Refugee Action in the week of 18th June. Refugee Action is a London based British NGO that occupies itself with voluntary return. We wanted to take a closer look at how our partner within the European network handles things. We already look forward to their coming in September when they will come on a training course at our place. When visiting London we were accompanied by participants from Austria, The Netherlands, Portugal and Bulgaria. We all learned about the functioning of Refugee Action and we were presented with a diversified and interesting programme. There were e.g. meetings with Iraqi (Kurdish) and I-thiopian migrant organisations. Another interesting thing was a discussion sparked by an analysis of media-behaviour towards migrants in Great-Britain and the comparison thereof with our own Belgian media. What struck us most was the fact that a part of the British media is very tough on migrants. Migrants in Britain are often really being stigmatized and the public is presented with the wrong information on a regular basis. This obviously doesn’t make the work easier for Refugee Action. Business plan Much can be learned from Refugee Action when it comes to the relief and counselling of returnees. Their work is restricted to those two areas. In Great Britain it is always IOM that takes care of the guidance and reintegration of returnees. Most striking then was the meeting with IOM London. They mainly support the strong and independent men, given the fact that they almost exclusively give support to micro-business plans. All very well for those independent men but what about the single mothers, old people, sick people … that return? For them it is much more difficult to find the support required. Annelieke Carlier Question & Answer NEWS In every newsletter we publish an an- Migration: our recommendations to swer to a question we have received the future government and we answer it 10 recommendations of Caritas International to the person charged with forming a new government and the political par- “A person is suffering from Hepatitis C. Is there adequate health ties that will constitute the new federal government can be care in Georgia to treat this disease and is health care easily accessible to everyone?” found at: Hepatitis C is treated in Georgian hospitals and the disease frequently occurs as a cause of intravenous drug use. The treatment during a specific period of time (hepatitis C is a chronic disease) is covered by the ‘State Standard’. That means that the costs for treatment are partly compensated for by the state. For less than 14 year-olds as much as 80 percent of the costs are covered, for adults 50 percent. Further (reliable) information: +995 32 91 47 14 (fixed line) and +995 93 25 97 53 (mobile phone)