April 22, 2016
Federal Liberal HQ (10 St Mary Street – Yonge & Charles)
Join us on Friday, April 22 at 1:30pm at 10 St Mary Street (Yonge & Charles) for a demonstration of rage, music, art, grief, and remembrance, and with a message loud and clear to the Liberal Government. Immigration detention is indefinite, unjust, and deadly. It must end.
April 22 will mark exactly one month since the family of Francisco Javier Romero Astorga, a Chilean man who died in immigration detention, issued an open letter asking for help in finding out how Francisco died. They are still waiting for answers. Read their open letter here.
When Francisco died on March 13th, it was the second death in immigration in a week, after the passing of Melkioro Gahungu four days earlier.
64 year old Burundian refugee Melkioro committed suicide in immigration detention where he had been jailed without charges or trial for at least a year, possibly more.
Francisco was the 14th person to die in detention since 2000, the 7th death in just three years.
Colonization has always been built on racism and the denial of immigration status to Black and Brown people. Whilst we know that obtaining immigration status doesn’t mean dignity when faced with police violence, poverty and patriarchy amongst other injustices – denial of immigration status means being shut out of basic services, imprisonment without charges or trial, and for many death. Immigration detention is one bottom of the barrel and we must dismantle this system from the bottom up.
There are many of us who have our struggles and stories of incarceration, borders and violence. Next week, immigration detainees in Lindsay, Ontario will go on hunger strike across all ranges. They have been writing letters and making calls to the new Liberal Government who has left them languishing in limbo, with no end in sight to their detention. They have asked us to continue the fight from the outside. Come with your stories, come with your music, come with your grief. Together, we are stronger.
Francisco was cremated at Evergreen Crematorium in Hamilton, after the Canadian and Chilean governments failed to provide financial support to transport his body for a funeral in Chile. His family were forced to choose cremation at a cost of over $3,000 as it was substantially cheaper to cremate him then to fly his body home.
It is clear to us that Melkioro needed medical help and support that he never got. The interpreter at his April 2015 hearing said: “All he wants is just somebody to just kill him. He is just mentioning something like that…that instead of being wherever he is, …— or the situation he is in, he could just be killed or somebody like order — somebody to kill him or kill himself..”
Francisco and Melkioro’s mysterious and preventable deaths call upon all of us to increase our efforts to END IMMIGRATION DETENTION NOW.
Their former cellmates are constantly wondering who will be next. As detainees imprisoned indefinitely take action – we will join them.
– End Immigration Detention Network | No One Is Illegal Toronto | Casa Salvador Allende | Latin American Caribbean Solidarity Network | Victor Jara Group
Check out these pictures, videos, media stories and statements.
- Pictures and media coverage from March 15th vigil at CBSA Toronto offices
- Video – CBC News: Vigil to mark two immigration detention deaths in Canada
- Video – Ricochet: “No migrants in detention!” rally in Toronto
- Toronto Star: Family ‘utterly in the dark’ about Chilean man’s death in detention
- Toronto Sun (with Video): Family seeks answers in immigration detainee’s death
- CBC The Current: Deaths in CBSA custody renew calls for immigration detention reform
- Toronto Star: Incarcerating migrants is inhumane: Goar
- Toronto Star: Stop the indefinite detention of migrants in Canada: Cole
- Joint statement from Human Rights groups: Human rights groups react to news of another death in immigration detention
- Our Windsor – Human Rights chief seeks overhaul in handling of immigration detainees in Ontario jails
- GlobalTV: Immigration detainee’s mysterious death is the second in seven days
- Vice Canada: Activists Demand Reform After Another Immigrant Dies in a Canadian Jail