Immigration detainees jailed at two maximum security prisons are continuing to hunger strike to demand an end to indefinite detentions in maximum security prisons. The hunger striking detainees, who have increased to over 60, want to meet with Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale to discuss their concerns.
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Detainees from – Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay, and the Toronto East Detention Centre in Scarborough – called Goodale’s office Monday, but were denied access to the Minister. His receptionist insisted that he and his staff are unable to speak to members of the public, and refused to provide further assistance in facilitating a meeting between Goodale and the striking detainees. Instead she insisted that detainees call their local MPs.
When detainees called their local Member of Parliament, MP Jamie Schmale, he refused to reach out Minister Goodale.
“Everyday we’re looking forward to changes to come, and we don’t know when they’re actually going to happen,” said hunger striking P.O., who has been imprisoned for the past two and a half years without charges or trial. “We’re protesting because we want to have a change. We want to have our freedom as well. That’s the main reason we are doing this.”
While Minister Goodale’s office was brushing detainees offices, his office issued a media statement insisting that their approach to immigration detention was “world-class, including methods of enforcement, with effective transparency and accountability”. The Minister also insisted that immigration detention was a ‘last resort, after all other alternatives are explored’.
Goodale want us to believe that jailing people for over five years without trial or charge is a last resort. At least three people have died in immigration detention since the Liberals took power, the Minister wants to believe that there was no other option but to let them die? How is not talking to the people directly affected transparent and accountable?
Now is the not the time to obfuscate and lie, Minister Goodale should visit these maximum security prisons, speak to immigration detainees, and commit to upholding human rights and international norms by ending immigration detention.
Nearly 70 people are starving themselves for basic justice, they deserve to be with their families and communities, not locked up without an end in sight. Support #MigrantStrike.
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