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Detainees and Allies are Expanding the Campaign for No Detentions and No Deportations!

December 10, 2013

We are demanding:

  • An end to maximum security detention: Immigration detainees should should not be held in maximum security  provincial jails, and must have access to basic services and be close to family members.
  • An end to indefinite detention: If removal cannot happen past 90 days, detainees must be released. Canada’s current immigration detention system is in direct contravention of the United Nations’ ruling on indefinite detention.
  • Extend access to legal aid for detention reviews.
  • Overhaul the adjudication appointment process for detention review.

In addition to the original #MigrantStrike demands:

  • Better access to medical care and social workers.
  • Cheaper phone calls and access to international calling cards (many have family overseas).
  • Access to better food, like the food on the non-immigration ranges.
  • An end to constant lockdowns.
  • Keep the improved canteen program going.
  • Better access to legal aid and legal services.
  • Granting of specific requests to move individuals to facilities nearer to their families, legal resources, and social services.

“I was granted refugee status, but within that time, after I got my permanent residency, I was convicted. They tried to send me to Liberia, I was sent there with two officers to Liberia with two border guards, but the government of Liberia refused to let me in. I came back and they kept me in jail for 14 months, and then they released me. Since 2011, I have been in jail, they tried to send me to Ghana, because they think my voice and appearance is like Ghanians but Ghana didn’t want me. They tried to send me to Somalia because Somalia has no government, so they offered me $4,000 to go there but I didn’t want to go. So I have been in jail, and Canadian government has sent investigation teams to other countries but but nobody wants to take me. I’ve been in jail, and no country wants to take me. I did the program from Salvation Army, from John Howard society, I’ve eight certificates, I did family development, account management, social skills, I am doing another program. This organization ‘Redemption Reintegration Services wrote a letter saying  they would help me to reintegrate into society. They said they would give me a job but immigration turns me down. I have done everything immigration asked me to do but they don’t want to release me.”

Erik K. is 48 years old from Liberia, West Africa and has been in Canada since 1989.

191 detainees on immigration hold in the maximum security prison in Lindsay have been on strike since September 17. These migrants are kept locked in cages for 18-22 hours a day, some of them for up to 7 years because Canada cannot deport them to home countries that will not take them back. In contravention of the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights, Canada refuses to release them. They are being punished for being arbitrarily deemed a flight risk, and for the crime of being born elsewhere.

The strike began after the detainees were moved to Lindsay jail from prisons across Ontario where they face lockdowns, sub-standard food, limited access to telephones, and denial of family and legal visits. Despite this crackdown, many of them have been on hunger strike for 12 days now. At least six detainees have been hospitalized or received medical treatment, and at least one is on dry hunger strike. The detainees are now also collectively boycotting their detention review hearings, which have become a charade with no hope for release. This resistance is lifting the lid on what is arbitrary and indefinite detention.

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