Interpreters can not handle the abundance of illegal immigrants from Eritrea
By Jonas Naeyaert - 8 March 2019
The port of Zeebrugge remains plagued by large groups of so-called 'transit migrants': Migrants who illegally travel through Europe with the UK as target destination, mostly from (Black-) Africa. Many of them claim to come from Eritrea. But that makes the interview and other operations difficult. There is a chronic shortage of interpreters in Tigrinya, the most spoken language in the East African country. That brings Het Nieuwsblad .
On Wednesday, dozens of transit migrants again entered the port of Zeebrugge. They wanted / wanted to reach the UK, just like their many 'colleagues', which is illegal given that you have to apply for asylum in the first EU country to enter. This time around 25 of them were arrested. 13 of the illegal immigrants claim to be from Eritrea. But that makes it difficult to question. There are hardly any interpreters Tigrinya available. And those interpreters need the police, not so much to prosecute transit migrants - given that most of the arrested illegal immigrants are released - but to map out networks of people smugglers. Tear-off commands are equally at risk.
Parket Bruges about illegal immigrants: "We are not the only ones that are faced with that problem"
"[Here] we often can not hear those people and even the biggest polyglot can not communicate with those people" , says Frank Demeester , attorney at the Bruges public prosecutor, at Het Nieuwsblad. "The lack of interpreters also has negative consequences for our major investigations into smuggling organizations. We are not the only ones with that problem. Our colleagues from other districts also have the same problem. "
As a result of the interpreter deficit, the police can question less and fewer illegal immigrants. However, the police want to do this as much as possible in order to obtain a picture of any human smuggling groups that are responsible for a large part of the (transit) migration. But not just questioning becomes difficult to impossible. "Not only in those interrogations. But also in the elaboration of monitoring measures, we are running a considerable delay. And that while in those files often people are in custody. "