human development, social justice and sustainable social systems

Khaan’s story #whatishome

In 1992 Bangladesh was ruled by a military government. I was a college student and had just finished my Bachelor in Commerce when I was involved in student politics, in the Sarbahara Party (Communist Party). When I got more active I got problems with the ruling government: they accused me of being involved in carrying weapons, which is illegal in Bangladesh. This was not true, it was just to find a reason to accuse me. I did not have any way to prove my innocence though because the whole justice system was in favour of the government. Some of my friends that were also involved in this party got arrested. My family and our party leader told us to leave Bangladesh and go somewhere where we can live in peace and safety. I was living close to the Indian border so I crossed it by foot and public transport. I had to leave very quickly and with just a small bag.

I went to Calcutta. But I also did not feel safe there because people in India easily recognised that I am from Bangladesh. And at that time there were many religious problems between Muslims and Hindus in India and Bangladehs so as a Bangladeshi Muslim I was not safe. After a few months I decided to come to Europe. I flew from India to Moscow and then travelled by train to Germany. It took me 3 months in total to get to Germany. In Germany I was not recognised as political refugee because I did not have enough documents. But I had to leave my home in a rush so I could not take all the necessary documents. I stayed in Germany for 3 months and after they refused my application I moved to Belgium. During this time I managed to get some more documents from Bangladesh so I could prove my case in Belgium. Belgium then granted me political asylum. First I got temporary documents and had to renew the application regularly for 8 years. Then I finally got my permanent residence. Then it was also easier to find work and I started working as a cook.  By then the situation in Bangladesh had also improved and I could finally visit my family again. Now I am married and have on daughter here in Belgium. Belgium and Bangladesh are my home.