By Yameogo Rodrigue Didas Ouitebpigba
I have the honour to address you through the press because I have no other way of making my voice heard. My name is Yameogo Rodrigue Didas Ouitebpigba, a Burkinabe national who has been residing in the United States since 2016. I arrived in Belgium involuntarily, while I was in transit to the United States.
I went to Burkina Faso following a summons from the investigating judge to give my testimony in connection with the assassinations of the Burkinabe journalist, Norbert Zongo and his companions, which implicated President Blaise Compaoré's brother, Mr François Compaoré. After my hearing, a press article reported my presence in the country, and my family and I were threatened. Feeling in danger, I took my family to safety and then took my flight back to the United States.
At Ouagadougou airport, men who say they know my address in the United States threatened me again. For this reason, during my stopover in Brussels, I officially requested protection from the border police. After the statement of facts, the border police told me that they would help me. They picked up my luggage that was in transit to the United States and then took me to the Caricole Center, where I have been detained since July 12, 2018.
That is when my ordeal in Belgium began, because I find myself guilty of the crime of having sought international protection.
The international protection procedure followed its course, until the CGRA gave a negative response to my request on 1 August 2018. It was followed by the annulment of this decision on 23 August 2018 by the Conseil du Contentieux des Etrangers, which condemned the reasoning followed by the CGRA in its decision to refuse and ordered further investigation duties. To this day, I have no news of a decision concerning me.
On 1 October 2018, the Council Chamber of the Court of First Instance of Brussels ordered, with the assent of the King's Prosecutor, my immediate release. To my great surprise, the Office for Foreigners appealed against this decision on the same day, further prolonging my detention. However, this decision notes that the decision ordering my detention has no legal basis.
Excellency, I come to you because I did not know that requesting international protection from the Kingdom of Belgium was a crime that could result in deprivation of liberty for several months, without knowing what would happen to me.
I therefore come to ask you, in all humility, to help me to go to a country where my request for protection will be heard.
For having wanted to do justice to a journalist who only had his pen to denounce an injustice, I have already spent 3 months in a Belgian prison that does not say his name, the Caricolous closed centre.
Excellency, I had always heard that the Kingdom of Belgium was one of the cradles of human rights, but I realize that I am a victim in Belgium of the colour of my skin. I am outraged at the treatment of foreigners of colour, often from Africa, in closed centres in Belgium. Most are handcuffed, tied, hooded, and deported to the country from which they fled. Coloured skins are being attacked in detention centres to such an extent that children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with serious illnesses such as cancer are trapped in them.
I take my pen today, as Norbert Zongo did, to denounce what I would call a new form of slavery, a new form of slave trade, yes, Your Excellency, King of the Belgians, here is what is happening in your Kingdom. Yes, Excellency, a pure and simple contempt for men and women of colour. Yes, Excellency, today in your Kingdom, your Government has a migration policy that could be likened to racism.
Excellency, I leave you on this bleak picture of the human rights situation in your Kingdom, while hoping that I will be the last to suffer such contempt.
October 3, 2018
Yameogo Rodrigue Didas Ouitebpigba
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator