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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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-
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
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
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?
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-
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
RETURN AND REINTEGRATION 02-august 2007 4
Return and Reintegration Unit on training course at London
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.
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.
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: http://www.caritas-int.be/index.php?id=543&L=0
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)