Secretive contract reveals Ontario and Border Services jointly responsible for detention injustice

June 24, 2015

Toronto — The End Immigration Detention Network is releasing a secretive contract between the Ontario and Federal government which shows joint responsibility for immigration detention violations. Ontario has denied the existence of this agreement on multiple occasions, and it has not been released in previous requests under the Access to Information and Privacy Act.

“This contract clearly shows that Ontario and Canada have been working together to deprive immigrants of their freedom without charges or trial, and creating prison conditions that are resulting in misery and death,” says Tings Chak, organizer with No One Is Illegal – Toronto and the End Immigration Detention Network. “It’s time to end the secrecy, and do a fundamental overhaul of the immigration detention system; immigration detention must end.”

The agreement came into effect on April 1, 2013 but was only signed by sitting Ontario Minister Yasir Naqvi on January 21, 2015. It must be renewed annually and can thus be cancelled in January 2016 by either party. It came to light earlier this week after the release of a report on immigration detention by the University of Toronto International Human Rights Program and the death in immigration detention custody of Abdurahman Ibrahim Hassan. It can be downloaded at www.endimmigrationdetention.com

“Immigration detention is getting way out of hand. they are locking us up and forgetting about us. I have seen 4 people held in detention with me pass away while in CBSA custody, there is no end to detention and I am worried the next one will be me” says 50 year old Francis Davidson. Davidson has been in Canada 27 years and has been held in detention for the past 4 years. He continued, “I want immigration detention to end now.” Further statements from immigration detainees can be found here.

Key facts about immigration detention & violations

  • Over 7300 migrants were detained without charges or trial in 2013. Approximately, one-third of all detention happens in maximum security provincial facilities rented out by provincial governments to Canada Border Services Agency. 60% of all detentions take place in Ontario.
  • There is absolutely no system to determine under what circumstances some detainees are held in one of three federal immigration holding centres (Toronto, Laval and Vancouver) and the rest in provincial jails.
  • The decision to detain or release is made by civil servants, who are not legally trained, known as Board Members. Board Members release rates vary arbitrarily between 5% and 38%. Release rates also vary by region, 9% in Ontario, and 26.5% in the rest of Canada. There is no comprehensive judicial oversight of these decisions.
  • Canada is one of the few western countries in the world without a time limit on detentions, thus some immigrants have been jailed for over 12 years without charges or trial.
  • Since 2000, at least 12 immigrants have died in CBSA custody according to news reports. CBSA has never publicly revealed details of deaths in its custody.
  • If arrested for a crime, immigrants are punished three times. First, for the crime itself, Second, by having their immigration status revoked or if it’s in process, denied, and facing deportation. Third, by being jailed, in some cases indefinitely.
  • CBSA has been found to use international smugglers to get fake documents to deport migrants to countries they have no connections to, as in the case of Michael Mvogo. See full details here.
  • CBSA flies detainees to Kenya, and then pays bush-pilots US$25,000 in cash to transport those detainees to Somalia. See CBC investigation in the case of Saeed Jama.
  • CBSA regularly imprisons children. At the same time, it does not report on imprisonment of children with Canadian citizen insisting that they are ‘accompanying’ their parents.

Key aspects of the Contract

Though the contract refers to the “interests of public safety” as the justification for detention in provincial jails, immigration detention is ‘administrative’ imprisonment.

Payment (s. 8.1): Canada Border Services Agency pays Ontario a per-diem rate to imprison migrants. Ontario is paid an additional amount of 20% of the per diem rate to cover overhead and administration. Thus, Ontario directly profits from cruel and inhumane detentions that do not conform to basic due process guarantees and are contrary to international legal norms.

Health and Safety (s.2.11-2.14): Health and safety of immigration detainees is the responsibility of the province, except where the detainee is transferred to hospital, in which case Canada must assume custody within 24 hours, or a psychiatric institution pursuant to the Mental Health Act. Thus, Ontario and CBSA are jointly responsible for deaths in immigration custody.

Detention and Transfer of Immigration Detainees (s. 2.7 and 2.8.): Ontario may refuse to detain any immigration detainee whom Canada has requested be detained when its an operational necessity; (s. 2.9) Ontario limits detentions of certain individuals to not to exceed 30 consecutive nights, but CBSA and Ontario are working together to jail some detainees indefinitely.

Detention and Transfer of Immigration Detainees (s 2.19-2.19.3): Ontario shall detain persons as long as they are in CBSA custody or until this agreement is terminated. Ontario is choosing to maintain this agreement and indefinite detention along with CBSA..

Monitoring (s. 5); Red Cross “may meet with persons detained…according to access granted by Ontario”, however no independent monitoring has ever taken place. Ontario continues to deny the Red Cross monitoring access to immigration detention ranges.

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Source

www.endimmigrationdetention.com

www.truthaboutdetention.com

http://ihrp.law.utoronto.ca/We_Have_No_Rights

Media Contacts:

Tings Chak, 416-276-2174, Organizer, No One is Illegal / End Immigration Detention Network

Hunger-striking friends of man who died in immigration custody speak out

Toronto – One week after the death of a 39 year old, Abdurahman Ibrahim Hassan at the hands of Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), immigrants imprisoned without trial or charges along with their families, and friends are refusing food today inside and outside of the Central East Correctional prison. Detainees in Toronto East Detention Centre will be joining them. The one-day fast is to commemorate the death of their close friend, and to demand an end to immigration detention. Detainees and End Immigration Detention Network (EIDN), Canada’s leading immigration detention watch group are also calling for a Coroner’s Inquest into Hassan’s death as well as the implementation of recommendations from Lucia Vega Jimenez’s death, a 90 day limit on immigration detention, an end to maximum security imprisonment and overhaul of the judicial process. Detainees and EIDN are also calling on the SIU to speak to detainees who have not yet been interviewed, and for the Ontario government to take responsibility for its role in these deaths.

“When we woke up [on June 12th] they told us Hassan died from a stroke. A newspaper said he was being restrained and died. We’re wondering who’s next. Am I next? Are my fellow friends my brothers here next who’s next ? We’re on immigration hold, you don’t know what’s gonna happen so you have the fear of losing your life, being assaulted or being forced to get on a plane. There’s a lot of concerns that we have” said T.R., one of the over 50 hunger fast participants, a 27 year old father who has lived in Canada for 12 years, and has been in detention for 5 months.

On June 11, 2015, Abdurahman Ibrahim Hassan, jailed in Ontario’s maximum security Central East Correctional Centre (CECC) in Lindsay, died in a Peterborough hospital after being “restrained” by officers according to Ontario’s Special Investigation Unit (SIU). Few details have been released surrounding the events that led to the detainee’s death. This is the 12th such recorded death in immigration custody since 2000. No recommendations from inquiries or inquests into any of those deaths have ever been implemented.

Twain, another detainee on hunger strike adds, “If anybody had criminal records they already paid their dues, but here they treat us so bad. It’s messed up how things happened. He was sick already and had altercations with guards before. He was walking good before, like straight. After the first altercation his back was bent he wasn’t walking straight anymore. After that he had another stroke. Last time he got beat up by guards in solitary and, rushed to hospital.This is what the guards told me. The situation in the hole is messed up. Only get a shower every other day. You sit there the guard walks by have to wait 30 minutes to an hour to wish for a guard to walk by in case something happens to you.”

Continue reading

END IMMIGRATION DETENTION NETWORK RESPONDS TO DEATH IN IMMIGRATION CUSTODY

Toronto, June 12, 2015 – Following the death of a man being held in a Lindsay, Ontario prison, the End Immigration Detention Network (EIDN), Canada’s leading detention watch group, which works with detainees in the same prison, is increasing its call for an end to immigration detention and for the Ontario government to cut ties with Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

CBSA is clearly unwilling to act on the death and misery caused by immigration detention. Immigration detention needs to end. The Provincial government is also directly responsible for jailing people that continue to die under its watch,” says Syed Hussan of End Immigration Detention Network.

On June 11, 2015 it was revealed that an immigration detainee, who was being held in Ontario’s maximum security Central East Correctional Centre (CECC) in Lindsay, died in a Peterborough hospital after being “restrained” by officers according to Ontario’s Special Investigation Unit (SIU).  

The detainee, whose name will be released later this afternoon, died as a result of a lack of appropriate, timely, and effective medical care for his diabetic condition. CBSA is refusing to be transparent about the conditions that led to his death, while concern continues to grow about the inadequate levels of health care provided to detainees. Immigration detainees are held under the jurisdiction of CBSA but in Ontario, a third of all detainees are held in provincial prisons.

EIDN is calling for an inquiry into the causes of death and immediate action to avoid further such tragedies. This is the twelfth reported death in detention custody. EIDN has led a campaign since September 2013 when nearly 200 immigrants in CECC went on hunger strike, calling for an end to immigration detention and demanding that the Ontario government cut ties with CBSA.

EIDN member Caileigh McKnight from Peterborough adds, “This news is yet another heartbreaking reason to end the injustice of immigration detention. The provincial government is locking up people in Ontario’s jails without trial or charge, not providing adequate health care and people are dying.

A GlobalNews report last November documented 11 deaths in immigration detention custody since 2000, including that of Lucia Vega Jimenez, whose passing lead to calls for an independent public inquiry. Canada Border Services Agency has no oversight body.

In September 2014, a leaked 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. Between 2008 and 2014, the Red Cross were denied visits to Ontario’s jails.

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Media Contact:

Syed Hussan – 416.453.3632

Caileigh McKnight – 705.931.2405

Macdonald Scott – 647.761.3860

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Also, please see:

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

– 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/

High-school youth to rally outside Ontario prison on Family Day

“If we get to be with our families, so should they. Everyone should be able to be with the people they love”

Peterborough, Toronto, Guelph — High school aged youth from Peterborough and Toronto are changing the way they celebrate Family Day (February 16th) this year, rallying outside a maximum security prison in Lindsay, Ontario. The group, members of Youth 4 Global Change & End Immigration Detention Network Youth Committee hope to raise awareness of family separation and endless jailing of immigrants including children without charges or trial. Siblings, parents, friends and grandparents of the youth group, as well as family members of many of the men imprisoned by immigration enforcement will be raising signs and making music outside the prison walls. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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.

QUOTES

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.” Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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

Activists unlock 10 foot Scales of Injustice from Ministry of Public Safety Offices. Mass protest on Sunday.

good oneMedia Advisory
June 13, 2014, 9:15am

Media Liaison (English): Syed Hussan, 416 453 3632, Tings Chak (416 276 2174
Porte parole (Francais): Ciaran Breen (647 705 3294)
For high-definition photos and video, email migrantstrike@gmail.com
See updates at http://www.twitter.com/NoOneIsIllegal and http://www.fb.com/EndImmigrationDetention

Activists unlock 10 foot Scales of Injustice from Ministry of Public Safety Offices. Mass protest on Sunday.

Protesters will be marching to CBSA HQ on Sunday, June 15th: https://endimmigrationdetention.com/2014/06/12/answers-demanded-on-political-meddling-in-immigration-detention/

Ottawa – After 90 minutes to represent the 90 day limit on detentions pending deportation that jailed migrants’ supporters’ have been demanding, a a ten feet tall, golden, scale of injustice with a sign saying “No Justice in Immigration Detention” has been taken down from the Ministry of Public Safety offices (269 Laurier Avenue West). The protest today took place to demand answers from Prime Minister Harper and Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney after a recent report revealed political interference in federal immigration detention decision making. The action and report occur as over 100 immigrants jailed in three different maximum security prisons are boycotting their detention review hearings, insisting they are stacked against them insisting they are stacked against them. Migrants in a maximum security prison in Lindsay, ON have been protesting their unfair imprisonment since September 2013.

“These scales were to remind Harper and Blaney that justice is something we all believe in and fight for, its not something that the Tories can just play fast and loose with. Blaney uses a broken justice system to lock up migrants, so today the Scales of Injustice locked out his offices,” says Tings Chak. Continue reading