11-year-old Angelica Cajamarca and her mother Ana will stay in Belgium, at least for now, after a court halted their deportation to Ecuador. “I’m ok,” she told reporters, “I’m glad to be back home.” An injunction against their deportation was issued while they were already on their way to Amsterdam to catch the plane. “It was a very difficult experience, “said Angelica’s mother Ana, “I cried a lot, I am tired and stressed.”
The plight of the mother and daughter, who are both illegal immigrants, gripped the nation. Campaigners staged a protest last Sunday outside the detention centre were they were held. Human rights groups were outraged by scenes of Angelica waving and pleading through the barred window of her cell. Ecuador’s President and his Belgian-born wife also took up their case.
Deportation is a sensitive issue in Belgium, where the death of a 20-year-old Nigerian woman during her forced repatriation in 1998 still stirs painful memories. Belgium was censured in 2006 for being in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights regarding the case of another juvenile.