The detention and planned deportation of an 11-year-old Ecuadorian girl and her mother is causing a public outcry in Belgium. Angelica Cajamarca and her mother, Ana, were arrested last month. Supporters say Angelica has spent most of her life in Belgium and sending her to Ecuador would be unjust.
Her lawyer, Selma Bekhelifa, said: “No one is looking at the psychological reports showing that detention is traumatising this little girl.” The child’s father, who is also staying in the country illegally, has yet to be detained. The President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa and his Belgian wife have called for the pair to be released.
Anne Malherbe said she was shocked by the case: “She was arrested in the first days of her school holidays. It makes me ashamed to be Belgian.” Deportation is a sensitive issue in Belgium, where the death of a 20-year-old Nigerian woman during her forced repatriation by the police in 1998 still stirs painful memories.