#MigrantStrike Day 44 (Oct 31): Meet the Hunger Strikers

Hunger-StrikeToronto – Today marks 44 days since 191 migrants began strike actions in a maximum security prison in Lindsay, Ontario, to protest indefinite detention and a broken adjudication process. Today we profile five of the men we are in touch with who have been on hunger strike and locked up in segregation as punishment. There are others whose bios we cannot confirm at this time. Detainees in segregation are on 23-24 hr lock down, some not allowed to shower for a week, and only receive food and access to some calls through a flap in the door.

Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney has still not made a statement. Yesterday, jail officials met with detainee representatives and like their boss, Corrections Minister Madeleine Meilleur, they refuse to take responsibility for either the indefinite detention or the segregation of detainees.


“I came here when I was 7. I’ve been in Canada for 43 years. All my family is here in Canada.”  — “We’re on segregation, we haven’t done anything wrong. We’re just trying to state the point to immigration to make a stand. I’ve been in here almost three years.” — “We have to argue [with prison guards] to get some liquids to drink. Some of them walk by and tease us about eating food. So we’re telling them that’s not right. We’re here trying to make a stand and you guys are making wise crack jokes.”

Lynval is a 51 year old father and husband. He came to Canada when he was seven from Jamaica. He has been held in immigration hold in Lindsay for almost three years, despite the fact he is not currently serving a sentence. Canada is trying to deport him, however since he has been has not been to Jamaica for 43 years, and has no family and no connections there, Jamica refuses to give him travel documents.

Lynval has been on hunger strike for 40 days and is being held in segregation. So far he has lost 50 pounds and is feeling increasingly weak and dizzy. He takes medication for blood pressure and pain he experiences. The nurses are keeping an eye on him, and giving him his medication, but he is receiving minimum medical attention.

Hear his statement: https://soundcloud.com/moominamur/interview-with-hunger-striker


“We are taking a stand. We want Immigration to know what’s going on. We want the public to contact Immigration Canada. We need the Canadian public to put pressure on the Immigration minister so they can stop this lengthy and cruel and unusual detentions.” —  “We our not fighting for jail conditions, we are fighting for our freedom, for our lives out there. We have family, we have kids, in Canada!” —  “This hunger strike we are going to keep this up, we are going to keep it up. If it means 100 days we are going to do it, because we need our freedom. If Canada can not get us out of Canada, they need to release us.” — “Canadian citizens need to know what the government is doing. Why we are here and what we are doing in here. This is not right, this is injustice.”

Martin came to Canada from Gambia as a refugee. He has a four year old daughter and a wife who live in Richmond Hill. He was convicted with a minor criminal record of possession and obstruction of justice. Since completing his sentence, Martin has been on immigration hold for 28 months. Awaiting travel documents from Gambia, Martin feels this will never happen and fears being held in jail indefinitely. He has been denied bail four times.

Martin has been on hunger strike for 40 days and is being held in segregation. He stresses that he and others are fighting for their lives and for their freedom from detention. Martin is critical of the immigration review system and vows not to give up and to continue the hunger strike for as long as it takes.

Hear his statement: https://soundcloud.com/moominamur/interview-with-hunger-striker


“Immigration Canada says that they are not punishing people but what are they doing to me? What am I doing in a maximum-security prison for 28 months; 28 months of my life, you cannot give that back to me. Even if you were to deport me right now you cannot give that back to me.” —  “I missed three of my sons birthdays, I missed three anniversaries with my wife….I can not see myself here being detained indefinitely and thinking about them. That will drive me crazy. So I have to keep it out of sight and out of mind. How inhumane is that. I am a father and I am a husband. Should I even be allowed to feel like this.” —  “My hunger-strike is till you either deport me or release me, because this is ridiculous.”

Amin is 29 years old refugee from Kenya, he came to Canada when he was 14. He has been detained in Lindsay prison for 28 months. Canada has tried to deport Amin to Kenya yet he has no family, and no ties there. Canada has also tried to deport him to Tanzania, where his mother was born but left when she was 19. However, he is not recognized as a citizen of either country. All of his family is in Canada. His siblings live in Scarborough and his parents live in Keswick.

Amin has been on hunger strike for 36 days and is being held in segregation. He said that the prison began to segregate individuals who continued the hunger strike when participants numbers began to decrease as a division strategy. When he arrived in Lindsay he weighed 180 pounds and now he weighs 140.

Hear his statement: https://soundcloud.com/moominamur/migrantstrike-an-interview



“The issue is not corrections…its not better food or phones…the thing they should be worried about is when am i going to get back to my family… its immigration… it’s the 90 days.” —  “I want to be spending Christmas with my kids.” 

Azuka is a father, whose wife is expecting another child very soon. He came to Canada as a refugee claimant nine years ago. He has been married for over five years and is applying for a spousal sponsorship which he cannot complete without identity documents that the CBSA confiscated four years ago. Azuka was detained by CBSA on August 21, 2012 while checking in with immigration enforcement for his monthly visit. However, he maintains that he has never missed a meeting in four years.

CBSA continues to insist that Azuka will be deported shortly to Nigeria, but the Nigerian High Commission does not issue travel documents to migrants like Azuka who refuse to be separated from their families and return home.

Azuka has been on hunger strike on and off for over two weeks. He was held in segregation but has since been released back into the regular prison population.

Hear his statement: https://soundcloud.com/moominamur/interview-with-immigration-1


Note: With limited access to phone lines, and poor quality of calls, this information is subject to change and correction. This is what we know to date. Also, many of the detainees saw one man, Jooma (last name unknown) get very sick, throw up blood, and be mistreated by the prison guards. Jooma was repeatedly told in front of others that he would be thrown into a hospital and quietly die without anyone finding out. These underhanded treatment is abhorrent and has heavily impacted many of the hunger strikers.


Sign our petition and take action at End Immigration Detention Network

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s