It looks like Europe is not the land of dreams that many Iraqis struggled to reach looking for better lives, because more than a hundred, mostly young, Iraqis returned voluntarily from Brussels to Baghdad on Monday 1st of February. The Secretary of state for Asylum and Migration Theo Francken said in an interview with VTM “Many asylum seekers, especially Iraqis who took advantage of Europe opening its borders to Syrian immigrants, were disappointed when they found out what the smugglers had told them about the situation in Belgium was not true. This is what made many of them return to Iraq voluntarily.”
Francken said in his interview “This is the first European flight dedicated to the voluntary return of Iraqis to Baghdad.” Generally Iraqi asylum seekers who wish to return to Iraq use on of the available European flights to Iraq or one of the organizations that help asylum seekers reserves a seat for them. But Belgium reserved an entire plane, only for the Iraqis who want to return to Iraq.
It seems the number of new asylum seekers in Belgium has decreased dramatically, as Francken tweeted “Belgium didn’t receive any asylum claims today, a first, since the start of the migration crises to Europe.”
One the Iraqi asylum seekers flying on this plane told Belgian TV channel VTM about the reasons he wished to return to Iraq, “I wish to return because of the bad conditions in Belgium and there is no care for the refugees. The food is bad and the service is bad. I prefer to die in Iraq.”