"The Congo remains my country, in spite of my awful experiences. We simply cannot go back. I feel very welcome in the Netherlands and the children do well at school." Yannick was in a refugee camp for six years, before he came to the Netherlands via UNHCR. Two years later his daughter and his two sisters joined him. His brother has also been traced.
Yannick used to live near the border in eastern Congo, which was ravaged by ethic conflicts and civil war. Together with about one hundred others he was locked up. Only eleven people survived the tortures and hardship. Yannick was one of these eleven survivers.
"I do not know how UNHCR and IOM discovered us, but through intensive negotiations with the government the managed to set us free. After fourteen months I was free at last. However, in order to save my life I had to leave my country."
After arriving in the Netherlands Yannick was first taken to the asylum seekers centre in Amersfoort, where refugees invited to come to the Netherlands receive a special introduction programme. On average they stay there for six months. Yannick stayed longer because the tracing and indentification of his daughter, his two sisters and brother took a lot of time.