Chechen Asylum Seekers: “They do not want us as Gypsies”
According to publications from Gazeta Wyborcza, some refugee centers in Poland are being emptied of asylum seekers, as per the decision of the Office for Foreigners.
“Currently 3,800 asylum seekers are under the supervision of our Office and 2,000 of them are living in these centers. From the beginning of 2010 until September, about 4,000 new asylum application were submitted. A year earlier there were 10,500 applications. Thus, officials decided to reduce the number of centers. But, it is sure that four of them will remain open. We are aware of the difficult situation. Therefore, people who are unable to find housing will be placed in other centers as much as possible,” said Ewa Piechota, the spokeswoman for the Office for Foreigners.
In Łomża, several families have moved to other refugee centers in Poland. However, most of them try to stay in the city.
“I have just found a rental room inside of a house. We will live in this room together with my two sons and five daughters. We have to do it, because in this one room we will pay 900 złoty (around 230 Euro) each month,” says Zainap Denieva, a Chechen asylum seeker from Łomża refugee center.
“There is no life for Chechen people in Poland. The Polish authorities did not make any attempts to solve systematic problems of the refugees. Maybe they have a special plan, as we crawl, we will flee from their country,” says Ramzan, another Chechen asylum seeker in Łomża refugee center.
“Finding accommodations is a big problem. The owners ask us for 400 złoty (around 105 Euro) for a studio flat, but when they learn that we are not looking a flat for Poles, but for Chechen asylum seekers, then they say the price is 2,400 złoty (around 615 Euro) for one month. Why is it six times more expensive? There is no explanation,” said Mariusz Derecki, lawyer for Fundacji Ocalenie (Foundation Salvation).
There were 85 people living in Bytom. 50 of them decided to move to other refugee centers in Poland, but 35 of them will remain in the city.
“Our homeland is a fairy tale. There is everything: mountains, water, oil, etc. My brother and I were living in the heart of Chechnya’s capital. Terrible things happened. We ran away from the bombs in Grozny. I saw people without arms and legs and some with detached heads. My father lost his eyes, I have difficulty hearing now. Still, it is not safe there. Even last week, we heard that two people were killed. But here, people don’t want us. I was treated as they treat gypsies; it is contemptuous. I am ashamed,” said Maryam, 47 year old Chechen asylum seeker who was a resident of the Bytom refugee center. She arrived to Poland with her husband Nurdi, his brother Ismail and his wife Esita, together with their five children.
These asylum seekers have run away from trauma and now they are experiencing new, different kind of trauma.
*Text was translated by Waynakh Online and edited by Michael Capobianco