Chechen Family Seeks Help in France
Sud Ouest, a daily regional French newspaper, published a story about a Chechen asylum seeking family which is at risk for deportation from France to Poland.
Marie-Gaëlle and Anne, two French citizens, are the mothers of schoolchildren in the station district of the city of Bordeaux. In the beginning of September 2010, four Chechen children attended class where their children were studying. A few weeks ago, a teacher explained the situation that these Chechen children are facing, to the parents. The teacher told them that they have no documents and will probably be forced to leave France in the near future.
The story of the Chechen family is almost common. Ibragim and Radima arrived to France through Poland last June. They fled first from Chechnya to Poland. “We feel safer here,” said Ibragim who can’t speak French, while he was looking down. His sister, Malika, who was a journalist in Chechnya and has lived in Bordeaux with political refugee status for two years, tells of the nightmarish experiences which her family faced in Chechnya since 2000.
She does not want to publicize the surname of the family due to fear of reprisals. “It is well known and clear. If we could, we would go back to Chechnya. We are not economic immigrants,” said Malika.
Malika had four brothers and Ibragim is the only survivor. Her youngest brother died in a traffic accident and two others were killed because of their political activity for an independent Chechnya.
Due to ongoing threats, Ibragim, his wife and their children left Chechnya for Poland in 2008. “It was a terrible mistake. But the smugglers did not take us further away,” said Ibragim. But Poland was not safe for their family. Within a few months, Chechens who arrived to Poland got asylum and close to him, they disappeared without any explanation. He started to worry about his wife and children. Then they came to Bordeaux near his sister and applied for political asylum in France. It was rejected because of the Dublin II agreement which arranges the asylum rules in Europe. Ibragim and his family first arrived to Poland in Europe, thus they have to stay in Poland. But this rule has exceptions and if France wants, they can grant refugee status to the family.
Last Wednesday, Ibragim, Radima and their six children were interviewed for the fourth time in the prefecture of Gironde. It is not known whether they will be sent back to Poland or not yet.
“Eight more political refugees, what is it for France? We know that they are threatened with death in Poland, and if they go back Poland or their country, anything can be happen,” said Marie-Gaëlle Baïs, who is the mother of a schoolmate of the Chechen children and fights everyday to help the family.
*Text was translated by Waynakh Online and edited by Michael Capobianco