One of the most annoying issues among asylum seekers are the theft inside the asylum centers
By: Yechiela Pojanamesbaanstit
New Times has interviewed six asylum seekers who have different experiences on the theft inside asylum camps. They have shared with us the different types stolen items.
I am Abdul karim Elmofalany, I am now 40 years old. I came from Syria to Denmark August 13th 2014. I have lived in Sandholm, Helsingor and Avnstrup camps.
In Avnstrup, I left a cooking pan in the community kitchen and I forgot to bring it back to my room. Then when I went back to take it, it was gone.
In the same asylum camp, I lost my slippers from my room when I left my room door opened to go to the bathroom.
Also, I forgot my clothes from inside the washing machine in the asylum center. When I came back to pick it up most of my clothes are gone. They left me only one underwear and one t-shirt. I think they don’t like them.
In Helsingor asylum center, I left my shampoo and towel inside the bathroom but then I went back again to the toilet, my towel and my shampoo are stolen.
I feel that it is very ridiculous because it is such a small thing. We have an expression in Arabic that if someone steals something, it is equal to his own value. So if you steal something small, your value is small.
My name is Daniel Ameen, I am 33 years old and I come from Bangladesh.
Now I live in Avnstrup camp. My room is a shared room with other three strangers from three countries, one is from Thailand and two are from Turkey.
When I was living in Auderod asylum center in 2012, I have lost so many things like my mobile phone, cooking materials like fresh chicken, meat, fish. One day I found out that an Algerian man stole my food. At that midnight, I went to central kitchen and I saw this man was taking my food from my refrigerator.
I saw that he was taking my food by breaking the key lock of my fridge and I went to my kitchen by accident and I asked him why are you taking my food? This man asked me back…”Why?”. I told him that he was very crazy. Then I went to the Red Cross office and I talked to the Red Cross staff. The staff told me that I can’t help you for anything: “Please come back tomorrow morning.”
Then I went back to my kitchen, this time, another Algerian man came and both of them tried to beat me and asked me why did I inform to the office. After that, I was very worried and then I went back to my room. Next morning, I was too scared to go to the office. After that, I didn’t put anything in my fridge and I just go to buy and cook freshly.
Then, I lost my mobile phone from my room when I left my room to the central bathroom for only 2 minutes without locking the door, I came back and I found that my mobile phone is gone.
My food was stolen for 4- 5 times from my fridge in Auderod asylum camp, my mobile was stolen one time in the same camp. I feel very very sad because somebody stole my food so I have to buy the cooking material again.
I want to just ask questions to them: Why do you steal my food?
I want to tell staffs if they found out these people stole other people’s property, they have to move them to the closed camp where rejected asylum seekers are staying.
Everybody must be careful and avoid those who are suspicious.
My name is Mr. Sam I am now 31, I came from Egypt.
I have lived in Denmark for two years and two months as an asylum seeker. I have been in five asylum centers.
In most of asylum centers I have lived in, I have had to live in mixed rooms with other strangers. It’s normal to lose food, if you don’t really stay in the center in the weekend for two or three days then your food can be gone.
At that time the fridge was in the kitchen and there are four people sharing the same fridge, each of us has got the same keys to unlock the fridge. It means four people share one fridge. Then the food was gone and it happened a lot.
In Avnstrup, there has been three times where I have gotten my money stolen. I was in double room container and my roommate found out where I kept my money then he took it and later I decided to move out. The total amount of money that I have lost with those three times was 230 kroners.
In the same room, I also lost my socks and my underwear and I’m sure that the same roommate took them from me.
I feel really annoyed. It’s so stressful and we have to be careful and look after everything, you just have to lock everything inside if you can, you never know.
I don’t’ think Red Cross can do anything. If possible, they should have single rooms and they should not put strangers together, it’s really annoying and stressful, people are stressed enough from their cases.
My name is Ayawadi, I am from Thailand, I am 6 years old. I am living in double bed room with my mother. We both are from Thailand.
I have lost my toy, it is sledge to play after heavy snow falls, this slay board is in blue color. I took it with me to play with other children in the big building as I am living in container pavillion.
While I was playing other toys with other children, after I finished, I didn’t find my toy anymore and my mother got so angry at me that I did not look after my toy carefully and she said that if I’m careless like this it means I don’t love her and then if I can’t find my toy she bought for me, she will go back to be jailed in Thailand. I was looking around asking friends in their rooms but we couldn’t find it, I cried very loud and then I was so afraid that my mum will go back to Thailand to be jailed because she was upset at me being a careless daughter doesn’t value the toy she bought for me in Denmark.
I think one time is enough to lose toy. I feel very sad because I always want to buy this toy and my mum said it’s very expensive.
To the thieves: Please give my sledge back to me. I want the Red Cross staffs to try to find my toy and give it back to me. Please be careful otherwise you will lose your toy like I did.
My name is Joudy, I am from Palestinian, I am 20 years old.
There are four people in my room from Syrian, Palestinian and two Kurdish.
I have lost my food from the kitchen when I was preparing my food, I put them on the oven, the food was ready to eat. Then I went to my room to prepare something from my room and when I came back, I didn’t find my food and my knife and my dish.
Also, I have a drawer inside the room in Avnstrup asylum camp and when I asked my roommate from Syria where is my rice, she said sorry , I cooked yesterday and I ate them, Then I felt very sad and very stressful, I went to office and I complained about it and the office gave you another drawer and two locks.
Now I become more careful.
I have lost my stuffs for two times from the same asylum center in Avnstrup.
I feel very nervous and stressful. Then I ran away to friend’s house in another asylum camp because I feel safer in Roskilde asylum center.
To the thieves: someday, somebody will steal you like what you do to me.
Please allow someone to change the room if the old roommates are not happy to stay together. Because they don’t have anymore trust between them and they will fight each others again.
We all must be careful and if you don’t feel comfortable to the old room, then you can just change the room. My solution is I got a lot of keys to lock up everything and now I have 10 keys because the Red Cross staffs in Avnstrup asylum center don’t allow me to move to another room to run away from this problem.
My name is Ei Pei. I am 36 years old from China, Wenzhou city. We have got Family room, living with my husband and my son, not sharing with any strangers in Roskilde asylum center,
I lost one long sleeve blouse in the public washing machine area 15 days ago.
I forgot to take the dish washing detergent from the community kitchen back to my room, when I realized that I forgot them, I went back to the community kitchen within 5 minutes trying to take it, it wasn’t there anymore.
Then, my son lost one of his bicycle lights , he had got 2 pieces for the front and the back, but he rode his bicycle to outside our room but inside the building ,and played with 3-4 boys in the same asylum center in the same area. Then my son found out later when he came back his light is gone and he knew one of them took it.
We lost our stuffs three times within one month.The bad people can bully good people. I am really speechless. I want the Red Cross staffs to tell the robbers that next time, do not take someone else’s stuffs. For asylum seekers, we should help each others, exchange with each others and get to know each others.
Mr. Michael Vinther, The chief of Avnstrup asylum center:
New Times has spoked to Mr. Michael Vinther, the chief of Midsjaelland region or the chief of Avnstrup asylum center about the stealing issue in asylum camps. Mr. Michael has declared that food are stolen typically and the most top five items those are stolen are: 1.Phones, tablets 2. computeres 3. cash 4. bicycles 5. clothes. He suggests that once the stealing cases happens, asylum seekers should go to police as it’s not under responsibility of Red Cross to handle and the asylum seekers should have a nice meeting held by Red Cross and talk about it, also he is happy to receive suggestion from asylum seekers about this matter.
“Whenever any asylum seekers want to complain about the stolen things, it’s the matter of police not the Red Cross. If they want to complain about thieves, we advise them to go to the police. If you are an asylum seekers , I will be very happy to get suggestions from the asylum seekers themselves, this is home of asylum seekers. We can have meeting between asylum seekers and red cross staffs. In Denmark, we always have the meeting between people who live together and bring out what is good and not good, it’s good to have dialogue, you have to take responsible with your own life, if you want to manage the meeting, we are always here.”, said Mr. Michael Vinther.
The Danish Refugee Council legal advisor/Juridisk konsulent, Marie Louise Frederiksen
Marie Louise Frederiksen, The Danish Refugee Council legal advisor/Juridisk konsulent, has given interesting numbers of arrested asylum seekers and facts to New Times reporter that asylum seekers who commit the crimes will be jailed from 3 to 6 years or life long, also their case will not be able to apply for resident permit in Denmark, after that police will push them back to their home countries or will be moved to Sandholm center and cut out pocket money and eat only food three meals a day without any further chance to go to work and go to school.
“The official numbers from the ministry of Justice, the police has arrested 896 asylum seekers for 1.077 criminal offences in 2013. Asylum seekers who commit criminal offences in Denmark will be prosecuted and convicted in accordance with the Danish Penal Code. They may be risking an expulsion order with an entry ban and its length depends on the criminal offence committed from 3 to 6 years or life long if the offence committed is severe. In this period of time, the asylum seeker is not entitled to apply for a resident permit in Denmark, If the Refugee Board has assessed the case, and finds that the asylum seeker is not entitled to asylum in Denmark, the police will arrange for the expulsion back to the asylum seekers country of origin. If however, the Refugee Boards finds that the asylum seeker cannot be returned to his country of origin based on a real risk of persecution, the asylum seeker may stay in Denmark under certain terms, so called tolerated stay. When a person is on tolerated stay, he or she needs to reside in Sandholm, is not allowed any pocket money and must eat at Sandholm three times a day. The person is furthermore not entitled to work or study and often must report to the police once or more every week.”, said Marie Louise Frederiksen, the legal advisor of Danish Refugee Council.
The feeling of being annoyed regards the theft issues are still continued, the question for every part in asylum community is: how can we cooperate each others to increase the security and safety to prevent this issue for better mentality of those who need to flee their countries to Denmark?
Or the punishment of this crime must be declared very loud in all asylum centers to show the real sample of those asylum seekers who are suffering from the consequences of their criminal actions to increase fear for those who still keep committing their criminal habits as an asylum seekers while they are in Denmark?