Ontario finally allows Red Cross investigation of immigration jails, but deaths and indefinite imprisonment continues

Toronto – End Immigration Detention Network (EIDN), Canada’s leading detention watch group, welcomes the decision to allow Red Cross access to Ontario’s provincial prisons for the first time since 2008. However, the lack of any real oversight of prison conditions of immigration detainees adds to the dire need to end maximum-security imprisonment of immigrants without trial or charges. A GlobalNews report today documented 11 deaths in immigration detention custody since 2000.

Since September 2013, over 100 migrants held in a maximum-security prison in Lindsay, ON have been on a protest strike against endless detentions, sham judicial review processes, and imprisonment in maximum-security jails. EIDN is coordinating the strike, and in June 2014 released an expose on immigration detention showing signs of political interference in detention release processes. In July 2014, the United Nations condemned Canadian immigration detention practices in response to an application EIDN filed.

“Endless, cruel and illegal imprisonment is part of Stephen Harper’s lock ‘em up agenda, but why are provincial governments, particularly Ontario where most detainees are jailed, co-operating with this injustice? Wynne and other Premiers need to stop upholding Harpers’ anti-immigrant platform,” says Tings Chak, an organizer with EIDN.

Chak adds, “Minister Yasir Naqvi signed an agreement on October 20th, but we don’t know when the probe will actually take place. The Red Cross must immediately be given access to all prisons, and their findings should be made public as soon as possible. The Red Cross report will show what we already know about the dismal conditions, maximum security restrictions, and lack of access to legal rights in provincial jails. We know that prisons should never be used to enforce immigration laws.”

Last year, 7,373 immigration detainees spent 183,928 days in prison, equivalent to about 504 years according to government data obtained by EIDN. In 2012, the year of the Red Cross report, of the 8,973 immigration detainees in Canada, 63% were in Ontario. A third of all detainees are held in provincial prisons, and designated immigration holding centres only exist in Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia.

“Immigration detention is a violent, brutal system that separates families, jails children and has drastic effects on mental health. As a result, Jan Szamko and Lucia Vega Jimenez have died in immigration detention and countless others are traumatized,” says Mina Ramos from EIDN. “The Feds and Provinces are covering up this inhumane treatment by shutting out oversight.”

Ramos insists that a wholesale shift is needed, “Immigration detainees in Canada can be jailed indefinitely without trial or charge. The entire judicial review process that is meant to uphold the integrity of immigration detention is broken, a fact that has been confirmed by the UN. This system does not need tweaking in the form of GPS units or more minimum security jails, it needs a total transformation that prioritizes community support and immigration status regularization.” 


Media Contact: End Immigration Detention Network Organizers

Tings Chak - 416 276 2174

Mina Ramos - 519 328 8835

Also, please see:

- United Nations opinion on Canadian immigration detention: http://endimmigrationdetention.com/2014/07/24/united-nations-body-issues-damning-opinion-against-canadian-immigration-detention/

- Groundbreaking study of immigration detention in Canada: http://endimmigrationdetention.com/2014/06/09/groundbreaking-report-on-immigration-jail-reveals-troubling-patterns-signs-of-political-interference/

- Backgrounder on 1-year long, and ongoing immigrant protest-strike: http://endimmigrationdetention.com/faq/

- Global News: ‘Canada’s Unwanted: Non-citizens paid to leave, jailed without charge, die in secret.’ http://globalnews.ca/news/1645726/canadas-unwanted-non-citizens-paid-to-leave-jailed-without-charge-die-in-secret/

Mvogo forced to fight for release despite UN ruling in his favour

This morning, Mr Michael Mvogo will be back in front of an administrative board demanding his release from indefinite imprisonment at a maximum security prison in Ontario, where he’s being held despite a United Nations Opinion calling for his release. In a decision rendered in June of this year, with implications for all immigration detainees, the UN also asked for repatriations for Mr Mvogo for 8 years of jail without trial or charge.

In an almost unheard of legal step, lawyers for Mr Mvogo will finally get the chance to cross examine a Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) officer who was involved with Mr Mvogo’s detention for many years.

“Canada Immigration should follow International law and respect human rights. Its been three months since the United Nations said I should be freed, but I am still behind bars. Does Canada immigration listen to no one? Is there no one to stop their abuses?” said Mr Michael Mvogo in a statement released today.

The decision in Mr Mvogo’s case was issued by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights’ Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions. The Opinion, the first of its kind against Canada, condemned Canadian immigration detention and reiterated the UN’s position that immigration detention should be the final resort, and should be for the shortest length possible. Non-cooperation from countries of origin and inability to identify a detainee also cannot be grounds of detention. Canada has failed on all four of these grounds. This decision impacts the approximately 10,000 detainees jailed in Canada each year.

“Not only is the Canadian government continuing to ignore the UN opinion, they are flagrantly disrespecting the United Nations and international law. Canada refused to respond to the United Nations before the decision was rendered in June and now they are asking to re-do the entire process claiming they were not provided an opportunity to respond,” says Jean Vecina, Mr Mvogo’s lawyer.

Despite the United Nations ruling, no judicial steps exist for Mr Mvogo to be released. He can plead his case in front of an administrative tribunal (Detention Reviews) as he is doing today but he has no access to judicial appeal if he loses. At the most, he can request that the Federal Court judicially review the decision. Even if that request is granted, which is rare, and he wins at the Federal Court which is nearly impossible due to prior case law, he would simply be sent back to a Detention Review rather than be released. A recent report by the End Immigration Detention Network showcased immense discrepancies between decision makers at Detention Reviews.

“Mr Mvogo’s case, though extreme for the number of years that it has taken, is not exceptional. CBSA refuses to reveal how many people it detains each year for longer than 90 days but it could easily number over a 100. They should all be released,” adds Tings Chak, one of Mr Mvogo’s supporters who will be at the Detention Review Tuesday morning. “Migrants like Lucia Jimenez, Joseph Dunn, and Jan Szamko have died in immigration custody, the UN is calling Canada a rogue state that breaks international law, and the Red Cross has criticized detention conditions. What will it take for CBSA to change its ways?”

Mr Mvogo is jailed at Central East Correctional Centre where immigrants jailed without trial or charge have been carrying out a protest strike since September 2013. Migrants are demanding a 90-day limit on detentions pending deportations, an end to maximum security imprisonment of immigrants, and a complete overhaul of the detention review and judicial review system that governs detentions.


- United Nations opinion on Canadian immigration detention: http://endimmigrationdetention.com/2014/07/24/united-nations-body-issues-damning-opinion-against-canadian-immigration-detention/

- Groundbreaking study of immigration detention in Canada: http://endimmigrationdetention.com/2014/06/09/groundbreaking-report-on-immigration-jail-reveals-troubling-patterns-signs-of-political-interference/

- Backgrounder on 1-year long, and ongoing immigrant protest-strike: http://endimmigrationdetention.com/faq/

Migrant Justice Groups Call for Overhaul of Immigration Detention after Secret Red Cross Report Released

Toronto, September 25, 2014 – Migrant justice coalition the End Immigration Detention Network (EIDN) is calling for an end to maximum security imprisonment of immigrants without trial or charges after a secret Red Cross report on deplorable detention conditions became public. Since September 2013, over a 100 migrants in a maximum security prison in Lindsay, ON have been on a protest strike against their endless detentions, bogus judicial review processes and imprisonment in maximum security jails.

The Red Cross report found denial of family contact, increasing imprisonment of minors and children, violation of basic legal rights, worsening mental health in detention, and alternatives to detention as key areas of concern.


Syed Hussan, End Immigration Detention Network
“Detainees are on strike, the UN has issued a condemnation, and now the Red Cross has joined a growing chorus of criticism against the inhumane, jailing of immigrants without trial or charge. The Canadian immigration detention systems is unjust, unfair and cruel. It must end.

Canada should stop being a rogue state, end maximum security incarceration, release migrants after 90 days if they can’t be deported and overhaul the entire judicial review system.”

Macdonald Scott, End Immigration Detention Network
“Detention is meant to be an interim process while a deportation order takes affect, but it has turned into a violent, brutal system that separates families, jails children and has drastic effects on mental health. As a result, Jan Szamko and Lucia Vega Jimenez died in detention and countless others are traumatized. Its time for change.

We need to begin with the assumption that no one should not be detained without trial or charge, rather than move towards new technologies like GPS monitoring to continue taking away people’s liberties”.


Media Contact: Syed Hussan (416 453 3632), Macdonald Scott (647 761 3858)

Also, please see:
- United Nations opinion on Canadian immigration detention: http://endimmigrationdetention.com/2014/07/24/united-nations-body-issues-damning-opinion-against-canadian-immigration-detention/

- Groundbreaking study of immigration detention in Canada: http://endimmigrationdetention.com/2014/06/09/groundbreaking-report-on-immigration-jail-reveals-troubling-patterns-signs-of-political-interference/

- Backgrounder on 1-year long, and ongoing immigrant protest-strike: http://endimmigrationdetention.com/faq/

The Campaign to End Immigration Detention – 1 year in

DSC_0510On September 17th 2013, 191 one hundred and ninety one immigration detainees held in the Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay, Ontario, began a non-cooperation protest.

They went on hunger strike and at first demanded better prison conditions. Soon the strikers demands expanded to the entire immigration detention system that detains hem, requesting a review of the detention process and demanding their freedom.

Today is the 1 year anniversary of the ongoing strike. This is a brief history of the struggle to date: the strike, the ongoing resistance on the inside and the campaign that continues on the outside. If you haven’t yet, please take action to support their resistance. We are an all-volunteer organizing project, please financially support our work. 

140917_FB 1 yearOn Wednesday, September 18th, 2013 an organizer with No One Is Illegal-Toronto gets a call informing them that detainees in immigration hold, recently transferred from across Ontario to a maximum security prison in Lindsay, Ontario have gone on hunger strike and refused to enter their cells.

Running Down The Walls, an annual run to raise money for the Anarchist Black Cross is in communication with prisoners at this time. Organisers from Fuerza Puwersa in Guelph set up a TrappCall phone line, which allows detainees to collect call cellphones on the outside. They begin to get calls from people who have decided to take a stand against what has become their indefinite detention. Connections are quickly made with organisers from No One Is Illegal-Toronto and form what is to become the End Immigration Detention Network. In conjunction with the detainees, activists on the outside craft a set of demands focusing on prison conditions and release a petition alongside a solidarity statement signed by migrant justice organisations across the country.

solidaritydetaineesOn September 23rd, activists in Guelph drop a banner from a bridge and on September 30th they visit CBSA offices in Kitchener Waterloo. During this time, the End Immigration Detention Network (EIDN) is publishing recordings of interviews with detainees who are speaking out. By this point, some of the detainees demands on conditions, including better canteen options and better food on range are being met by prison officials.

However, as the hunger strike entered its third week, detainees who call the trapp line are less interested in improving their substandard conditions and want to focus on the reasons for their detainment. On October 4th, the campaign releases the four key demands which stand to this day. Sign the petition here.

1 – Freedom for the wrongly jailed: Release all migrant detainees who have been held for longer than 90 days.

2 – End arbitrary and indefinite detention: If removal cannot happen within 90 days, immigration detainees must be released. Limits on detention periods are recommended by the United Nations, and are the law in the United States and the European Union.

3 – No maximum security holds: Immigration detainees should not be held in maximum security provincial jails; must have access to basic services and be close to family members.

4 – Overhaul the adjudication process: Give migrants fair and full access to judicial review, legal aid, bail programs and pro bono representation.

The following day, supporters send in photographs of themselves holding signs saying, ‘I support the migrant detainee strike.’ The actions of those inside have quickly become known as #MigrantStrike.

On October 6th, an interview is published with detainee Ayad Alshmmaray, who at the time had been in immigration detention for almost five years. Ayad suffers from lung cancer and was not receiving the appropriate attention while in detention. He was worried that he would die from cancer while in detention. Ayad kept in touch via the trapp line right up until the day he was deported to Iraq, on May 22nd, 2014.

During this period, Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) promises numerous times to meet with the detainees but to date they never have.

toronto  strikeThree weeks after the strike began, friends, family members and supporters across Ontario take to the streets in a provincial day of action to bring attention to indefinite detention. Actions take place in Guelph, Kitchener, Kingston, Lindsay, London, Ottawa, Peterborough and Toronto, where supporters dressed in orange jumpsuits and tied in chains hold out empty food plates and deliver a petition signed by over twelve hundred people to the office of Madeleine Meilleur, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services. The Minister’s office publicly deny that over 100 one hundred detainees were on strike and have continued to refuse to comment.

In response to the resistance on the inside, immigration enforcement place hunger strikers in segregation, begin to deport or release key strike organizers and move others into prisons across Ontario. Despite this, the strike actions continue.

On October 19th, Amin Mjasiri speaks directly from segregation, where he is on day twenty six of his hunger strike. Amin would remain on hunger strike for sixty five  days and is still detained to this day.

strikepplOn October 21st, the End Immigration Detention Network released an interview with Martin Sisay and Lynval Daley speaking about the hunger strike, segregation and resistance. Their struggle brings some success when Martin is finally released on February 21st, 2014 and joins the campaign on the outside.

On day thirty six of the strike, Michael Mvogo, in maximum security detention for seven years  files a complaint with the Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions at the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights demanding an end to his indefinite detention and the creation of a ‘presumptive period’. The same day, the Network release the We will not be locked up and forgotten’  video. A decision is expected over the summer.

On October 31st, EIDN publishes, ‘Meet the hunger strikers’, profiling five of the men they have been in touch with who have been on hunger strike and locked up in segregation as punishment.

TarekJohnLindsay3On November 5th, Tarek Loubani and John Greyson visit the jail in Lindsay with other organisers and demand their release. Loubani and Greyson, who had recently returned to Canada after a six-week detention in an Egyptian prison, including time in solitary confinement, call for people to speak out for the detainees as they had for them. Their visit brings significant media attention to the campaign.

On the forty seventh day of his hunger strike, the network releases an updated interview with Amin Mjasiri, recorded on the same day John and Tarek visited, when they were denied a request to visit him because of his commitment to the strike. Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney remains silent.

In November, the Toronto Star runs two stories on the strike. The first profiles Mbuyisa Makhubu, a South African anti-apartheid icon who has been languishing in immigration detention in Canada for almost a decade. This is followed by an exposé on the hundreds held in Canada’s immigration cells.

On day 57 Ten days later, family members and organisers announce they have lost touch with Amin Mjasiri and have grave concerns for his well being. A petition is sent calling for his release.

On November 26th, organisers announce a rally to be held at the prison in Lindsay on December 14th. In response to the call for a demonstration on the outside, immigration detainees decide to initiate a twenty four hour fast inside on the same day and supporters respond by calling for a twenty four hour global solidarity fast to accompany the protest at Lindsay Jail.

As opposition begins to grow against indefinite immigration detention in Canada, a supporters statement is released on December 11th, signed by 50 fifty leading labour, civil society, grassroots groups and individuals, including Naomi Klein, John Greyson, Council of Canadians, Canadian Union of Postal Workers and the Law Union of Ontario. Organizations can endorse the demands here: http://www.endimmigrationdetention.com/endorsers

Rally at Central East Correctional CentreDecember 14th brings snow storms and freezing temperatures to Ontario but the rally goes ahead as planned. Three busloads of families and supporters drive hours through snow squalls and are joined by many more residents of the Lindsay and Peterborough area. The almost two hundred strong crowd’s chants are heard by the detainees inside and the banging on their cell walls can be heard across the fences. A full hour after the buses departed, organisers receive a call from a detainee with deafening noise in the background. When asked what was happening inside, he responds, “They’ve been yelling freedom in unison for hours!”

Solidarity actions are held elsewhere, including a banner drop in Vancouver.

On December 20th, the National Post runs a story on CBSA’s botched attempt to deport a man to a country he wasn’t from with a forged passport purchased from a middleman. More reports have since emerged of CBSA using fake documents to deport migrants to countries that they have no association with.

In January, 2014, as African asylum seekers in Israel start their own hunger strike in protest of their detention, organisers in Toronto and Vancouver stage solidarity actions.

PSFOn family day weekend, family members of detainees release a striking and heartfelt statement, ‘When will they return?’  The same day, supporters project a massive image on to the border control offices at 74 Victoria Street in Toronto  where decisions to detain and deport migrants are made every day. Guelph organisers drop a banner with the same message.

February 28th 2014 marks the two-month anniversary of Lucia Vega Jimenez’s attempted suicide while in immigration enforcement custody awaiting deportation. She died eight days later. To mark this and the five month anniversary of #MigrantStrike, organisers stage a ‘Migrant Dignity not Migrant Death’ action at the Greater Toronto Enforcement Center, responsible for immigration detention and over forty deportations a day. Posters are plastered inside GTEC holding the enforcement officers personally responsible. The event is documented in the ‘Enough is Enough’ video. Rallies and actions are also held in Vancouver, Montreal and London.


On March 26th, a public forum on the struggle against immigration detention is held in Toronto. Speakers include recently released Lindsay detainee and strike organiser Martin Sisay, Maru Mora Villalpando from Latino Advocacy in Seattle and supporter of 1,200 immigrant detainees on hunger strike in Tacoma, Washington and Tarek Loubani. Supporters in attendance write and record messages to detainees and Stephen Harper.
On May Day 2014, International Workers Day (May 1st), supporters march in Toronto to ‘Honour Our Communities’ and demand an end to Immigration Detention.

detentionboycottOn June 2nd, over 100 immigrants start a historical month-long boycott of their detention reviews, insisting the process is biased, unfair and stacked against them. The boycott is coordinated between detainees caged in three separate maximum security prisons across Ontario – the Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay, Central North Correctional Centre in Penetanguishene and Toronto’s Metro West Detention Centre.

On June 9th, the End Immigration Detention Network launches a groundbreaking report which raises red flags about troubling patterns in the detention review process which keeps immigrants detained. EIDN insists that political inference may be taking place in the detention review process. ‘Arbitrary, Indefinite and Unfair: Truth about immigration detention’ is a startling exposé on immigration detention in Canada and comes as a video is released asking why the Harper government has detained over 80,000 people without charge and featuring the voices of detainees boycotting their detention reviews. The report causes a stir and is featured on CBC Metro Morning. Toronto Star publishes an official editorial.

good oneNetwork organisers head to Ottawa for the 15th International Conference on Penal Abolition, where they present two workshops linking immigration detention to traditional abolitionist struggles. On Friday June 13th, organizers use ten foot tall Scales of Injustice to lock down Border Control Headquarters in Ottawa to proclaim that there is no justice in immigration detention.

June 15th sees a Fathers Day March to End Immigration Detention from the University of Ottawa to Canada Border Services Agency headquarters in downtown Ottawa. Supporters hear a live recording from a detainee in Lindsay and chalk the names of those detained on the street in front of the CBSA offices.

UN decision meme FINALOn July 22nd, the United Nations issues its opinion in the case of Mr Mvogo ruling that he be released and be repatriated for the eight years he has been in detention. This is the first opinion issued by the Working Group in a case involving Canada since 1994 which is when records are available for. The UN opinion insists that Canadian immigration detention is indefinite, the judicial review process is broken, and is contrary to multiple international conventions to which Canada is a signatory.

On August 26th, immigration detainees in Lindsay, ON joined fellow prisoners and refused to go on lock-up after being forced into lockdowns repeatedly because of short-staffing.

10678435_623146104469103_2480849012532992723_nOn September 17th, 2014 actions are taking places across the country to celebrate the 1 year of resistance and call for an end to immigration detention.

We affirm our commitment to fight detentions and deportations, and all systems of immigration controls. We insist on the freedom to move, return, and stay. We declare: These walls will fall…

September 2014: United Against Detentions 

0616 migrant 05.JPGJoin these actions or TAKE ACTION from wherever you are.

Wednesday, 17 September, 12pm
CBSA Headquarters, 120 Metcalf Street

Wednesday, 17 September, 6pm
Jack Purcell Community Centre, Room 201

Wednesday, 17 September, 8pm
Meet at Cloud Gardens, Richmond W & Temperance Street.

Saturday, 20 September, 9am
Guelph Farmers Market, 4 Gordon Street

Saturday, 20 September, 12pm
Laval Immigration Detention Centre, 200 Montée St-François and then proceeding to the Federal Training Centre across the street.

On September 17, people locked up in immigration hold at Central East Correction Centre, a max security prison in Lindsay, Ontario, will mark the 1 year anniversary of their ongoing strike against immigration detention. Around September 17th, we will unite to demand an end to unjust immigration controls, and freedom of movement for all our communities.

We are creating people-powered mobilizations with community meetings, public protests and direct actions where ever we are.

Increased immigration detentions and deportations are the direct result of laws that exclude migrant workers, refugees, parents and grandparents, and low-income people from full status. This September, we will challenge Harper’s anti-immigrant agenda. At the same time, we will bring together diverse movements for social and ecological justice to build community visions of just migration.

This isn’t just about Canadian immigration policies. In a world of climate catastrophes, war, economic inequity and increased social oppression, our friends and families are forced to leave their homes here, and around the globe. Indigenous people continue to have their homes and territories made uninhabitable by corporate profiteers acting with government sanction. This September, we will link our struggles against all the forces of displacement.

Learn the truth about immigration detention in Canada: www.truthaboutdetention.com/
Freedom to move, return, stay: http://toronto.nooneisillegal.org/MoveReturnStay

Email migrantstrike@gmail.com so that we can coordinate actions in your community. 

Actions across Canada mark 1-year anniversary of ongoing protest-strike by immigration detainees

Canada – Protests, surprise actions, concerts, and community feasts are being organized across the country to mark the 1-year anniversary of the ongoing protest-strike by immigration detainees in a maximum security prison in Lindsay, ON. These immigrants are been jailed indefinitely without trial or chargein one case for ten years. Immigrants have gone on hunger strikeboycotted their legal proceedings, refused to be locked-down and turned away prison services to demand a 90-day limit on detentions pending deportations, an end to maximum-security imprisonment of immigration detainees and an overhaul of the judicial review process.

Over the last year, the End Immigration Detention Network has released a report with signs of political meddling in legal proceedings, and the United Nations has issued an opinion against Canadian immigration detention, the first such opinion in Canadian history. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has been caught in multiple scandals over the last year, including attempting to hide the suicide of Lucia Jimenez in their custody, using international fixers to deport migrants not to their countries of origin and using traffic stops as a guise to racially profile and detain people.

Wednesday, 17 September, 9am
Immigration and Refugee Board, Guy Favreau Complex, 200 René Lévesque West.
CONTACT SOLIDARITY ACROSS BORDERS: 438 933 7654 - Noé Ricardo (French, Spanish); Virginia (English)

Wednesday, 17 September, 12pm
CBSA Headquarters, 120 Metcalf Street
CONTACT NO ONE IS ILLEGAL – OTTAWA: 613-265-1364 – Deepan Budalkoti

Wednesday, 17 September, 6pm
Jack Purcell Community Centre, Room 201
CONTACT NO ONE IS ILLEGAL – OTTAWA: 613-265-1364 – Deepan Budalkoti
Wednesday, 17 September, 8pm
Secret Location. Meet at Cloud Gardens, Richmond W & Temperance Street.
CONTACT NO ONE IS ILLEGAL – TORONTO: 416 276 2174 – Tings Chak

Saturday, 20 September, 9am
Guelph Farmers Market, 4 Gordon Street
CONTACT FUERZA-PUWERSA: 519 328 8835 – Mina Ramos. 519 831 2806 – Erica Rathie.

Saturday, 20 September, 12pm
Laval Immigration Detention Centre, 200 Montée St-François and then proceeding to the Federal Training Centre across the street


End Immigration Detention Network

THESE WALLS WILL FALL! Protest-Concert for #MigrantStrike


Massive outdoor free protest concert to celebrate the courageous 1-year long resistance of immigration detainees on strike in Ontario.

w/ Indigenous & PoC Artists from Across Turtle Island

- – - – - – - – - – -

CLOUD GARDENS (short walk to concert site)

- – - – - – - – - – -


Arizona’s finest Red-Brown power hip-hop duo

Undocumented & Decolonial Mujer Lucha Rap

Singer, song-writers, one-half of Toronto’s own LAL

Anarcho-Rap Rhythm Renegades

Colombian darling, Soundsister, improv virtuoso

More to be announced.

- – - – - – - – - – -

On September 17, 2013, 191 migrants jailed in a Lindsay maximum-security prison went on hunger strike against their endless detention without trial or charge. Over the last year, despite being locked in cages, their resistance has continued. They have boycotted their detention reviews, refused to go on lock down, and refused unjust prison orders. As a result, strike leaders have been deported, faced coercion and fines while some have been released. They continue.

On the outside, we have mobilized to support. We have beaten down the doors of immigration enforcement headquarters, we have shown corruption in the detention review process, and we have even won a case at the United Nations.

On September 17th, we gather to celebrate and to remember. We will come together as families and friends of those jailed without an end in sight. We will express our outrage at the recent racist anti-immigrant raids in Keele-Finch. We will strengthen our struggle to overthrow prisons and border controls that separate, detain and deport us. We will pledge our commitment to fighting alongside Indigenous nations asserting sovereignty. We will insist these walls must fall. AND WE WILL DANCE.

No One Is Illegal! Freedom to Move, Return, Stay!

Actions taking place in many other cities, find one near you.


Update: Immigration Detainees take part in prison walk-out

We can now confirm that last Monday immigration detainees as well as general population inmates at the Central East Correctional Center, in Lindsay ON took direct action and collectively refused to go back into their cells when they were instructed to by prison guards. Inmates were protesting the fact that guard shortages over the summer have led to continuous lockdowns; sometimes spanning for days on end. Inmates argue that these conditions are inhumane and that guard shortages should not affect their quality of life while in jail. The protest lasted several hours and was ended after a prison negotiator was brought in to get inmates to go back into  their cells. However, the majority of the inmates were left frustrated and unsatisfied as the prison negotiator did not speak to individuals demanding an end to lockdowns and chose to speak to a small number of inmates who changed the focus and were asking for items to be brought into the jail. Following the protest, some ranges were once again put on lockdown for two days. Inmates including immigration detainees are talking of hosting another walk-out if conditions do not change in the near future.

UN has spoken. Its time to End Immigration Detention.

UN decision meme FINALOverstaying past your immigration permit should not be grounds for incarceration. Jailing someone simply for wishing to live and work in a country not of their birth is not justice. Indefinite detention with no hope of release on top of that is cruel, inhumane and appalling. Many people agree: Over a 100 detainees have been on strike for nearly a year, thousands of people have signed our petition, dozens of organizations have endorsed our demands, and our report on detention reviews has exposed signs of government interference in immigration detention decision making.

Now, the UN has spoken out in support. The tide on immigration detention is turning.

Let’s turn up the volume. Can you contact your MP about this urgent issue? Fill out the form below and we will be in touch.

Today, we are getting unprecedented media coverage from coast to coast to coast. We need you to amplify our voices even more. Over the next few days – we need you to share, tweet, email, and forward out this blog post, news stories linked below and images and stories from our facebook page and our twitter feed. We can do this!

(oh and don’t forget about Cross-Canada Day of Action Against Detentions on September 17th)


This is the first time United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights’ Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has rendered a decision involving Canada since 1994 which is as far back as information is available for.

  • The UN has called for Immigration Detention to be the policy of last resort but in Canada over 85,000 people have been detained under the current Federal government. Immigration detention is unjust, immoral, jail without trial or charge. Now the UN is saying its also against international legal norms. Its time to end immigration detention.
  • The UN has reiterated that detention must be for the shortest time period possible — Canada on the other hand is one of the only Western countries that does not have a time limit on immigration detention resulting in people being detained for up to 10 years. Immigrant detainees and their allies are calling for a 90 day limit on immigration detention.
  • The UN has issued this Opinion because it found that immigrants in Canada do not have access to real judicial review processes. This confirms what government documents have revealed about political interference in detention reviews, and what immigrants and their allies know — the current judicial oversight of the program is a farce. You have to seek permission to go to Federal Court, which usually gets denied. Even if you get permissions, case-law or previous decisions mean that detention can’t be challenged. The End Immigration Detention Network is calling for an overhaul of the Detention and Judicial Review processes.
  • The UN insists immigration enforcement’s inability to establish someone’s identity, or to obtain travel documents from countries of origin are not grounds to detain people. The UN goes a step further – even if those difficulties arise from non-cooperation of the detainee — there are still not enough grounds to keep someone in jail. These are the two of the most common reasons why immigrants are held in detention.  These people must be released. No one should be held in maximum security prisons.

will be updated all day, please check back for more

Toronto Star: UN chastises Canada over immigration detention, including un-deportable man jailed 8 years

CBC Metro Morning: Immigration Detention

Metro News Canada: UN chastises Canada

Toronto Star: Ottawa spurns UN criticism of years-long detention of migrants

Canadian Press: UN demands release of man detained over immigration violations: lawyer 

National Post: UN committee tells Canada to free ‘Man With No Name’ — the immigrant they don’t know where to deport

Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/07/24/un-demands-release-of-man_n_5618227.html

Radio Canada Internationale: Grupo de la ONU exige la liberación de un hombre detenido en Canadá

Live Punjab: http://www.livepunjab.com/content/un-demands-release-%E2%80%9Cman-no-name%E2%80%9D-detained-over-immigration-violations-112372.html



United Nations body issues damning opinion against Canadian immigration detention

Download backgrounder with key sections of the UN opinion here.

Toronto – The Canadian immigration detention system is under fire again, this time by the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights’ Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions.
‘…[D]etention shall be the last resort and permissible only for the shortest period of time and that alternatives to detention should be sought wherever possible’ reiterates the Opinion which criticizes Canadian laws and policies that have resulted in Mr Michael Mvogo’s detention on immigration grounds for nearly eight years. Over 85,000 people have been detained in immigration hold under the current government making it the norm, rather than the policy of last resort.

This is the first opinion issued by the Working Group in a case involving Canada since 1994 which is when records are available for. The opinion also calls for Mr Michael Mvogo’s release and insists that he be compensated.

Members of the End Immigration Detention Network who will deliver the Opinion to immigration enforcement offices this morning hailed the UN opinion as further evidence that the Canadian immigration detention system is in need of an overhaul. They point to the fact that Mr Mvogo’s case was considered under Category IV of the Working Group’s mandate which deals with immigration detention in the absence of judicial review or remedy.

“The UN is basically saying that the detention review and judicial review processes that Canada uses to justify all immigration detention do not pass muster,” says Syed Hussan, a campaigner with No One Is Illegal – Toronto and the End Immigration Detention Network. Continue reading