Verhaal, 21 november 2022

Desperately waiting for family reunification

The family reunification of refugees is deliberately delayed in order to solve the national reception crisis. A decision with immense consequences, also for the Syrian Mohammed (39), who is consumed with nerves. For years he and his family have been struck by disaster. 'The secure future I wanted for my children remains an illusion.'

Disastrous in Jordan

'Saving my children: that was always my only goal.' In a broken voice, Mohammed tells about his years-long flight: last year's to the Netherlands and twelve years ago from Syria to Jordan. Mohammed: 'In Jordan we were detained in a refugee camp for Syrians, in the middle of the desert. The heat was horrendous and there was no clean drinking water. My daughter died and my son contracted a dangerous disease.'

After the death of his daughter, the family flees the refugee camp, but this makes their stay in Jordan illegal. 'I wanted to save my children from death, disease and exploitation, but we were not entitled to anything,' says Mohammed. 'My children were not allowed to go to school, my sick child was not allowed to go to the hospital. Everywhere we were rejected and discriminated against. I don't want my children to grow up like this, I want them to have a safe future ahead of them.'

Last month our house in Jordan burned down. What if I lose my children?


Consumed by nerves

Mohammed sells a piece of land through his father in Syria so that he can flee further. He will arrive in the Netherlands in 2021, where he will receive a residence permit eighteen months later. When he is finally allowed to apply for family reunification, Mohammed is told that his procedure is being delayed. Since then he has been consumed with nerves.

'Last month a fire broke out at our home in Jordan and my youngest child suffered burns. My wife and children are now staying at the house of an acquaintance. They can no longer survive financially. What if something happens again, what if I lose my children? They can be abused every day on the street and I cannot protect them from the Netherlands. I thought I'd leave them for a short time, but now I hear it could be years before I see them again.'

In his desperation, he sometimes regrets coming to the Netherlands, he says. 'Everything is so uncertain right now. How long am I supposed to wait? The secure future I wanted for my children is still an illusion for the time being.'

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