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.


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

Answers demanded on political meddling in immigration detention

June 12, 2014

Media Liaison: Syed Hussan, 416 453 3632, hussansk@gmail.com, No One Is Illegal – Toronto

Answers demanded on political meddling in immigration detention

Ottawa — Days after a report revealed political interference in federal immigration detention decision making, family members and supporters of immigration detainees are converging in Ottawa demanding answers from Prime Minister Harper and Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney. This protests are taking place as over a 100 immigrants jailed in three different maximum security prisons boycott their detention review hearings. Detainees have been protesting their endless jail terms since September 2013.

Rally and March to End Immigration Detention
1pm, June 15th, 2014
Rally at University of Ottawa, FSS building, 120 University ‎private drive.
March to Border Enforcement Headquarters


On Monday, June 9th 2014, a new report on immigration detention exposed signs of political interference in immigration detention review processes. Release rates in Ontario fell suspiciously from 21% in 2008 to 11.5% in 2012 and 9.3% in 2013. The report Indefinite, arbitrary and unfair: The truth about immigration detention in Canada showed that a migrants’ chances of release are determined by which board member hears their case, and where in the country they are jailed. Read the infographic based report at http://www.truthaboutdetention.com

Nearly 80,000 immigrants have been detained under the current federal government. Over a third of the immigrants detained at any time are held in one of 142 mostly maximum-security prisons across Canada. At least 203 children were jailed in 2013. Canada is one of the few countries in the “west” that does not have a limit on detentions pending deportation. These detentions are taking place in the context of increased temporary immigration status for workers, parents, grandparents and spouses, as well as declining refugee acceptance which is forcing many to choose to live undocumented in Canada.

Toronto Star editorial (June 10): Red flags over Canada’s approach to detaining migrants who pose a flight risk.
CBC Metro Morning (June 10): Immigration Detention