So that immigrants are not thrown in prison anymore

International human rights organizations are urging the Quebec government to stop negotiating agreements with its federal counterpart that allow migrants to be detained in its provincial prisons. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, who are leading this campaign with the governments of all provinces, hope this will encourage the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to end practices they consider “abusive” by locking up thousands of immigrants. every year.

“Our campaign isn’t just saying these people shouldn’t be held in provincial prisons, it’s saying they shouldn’t be held at all! France-Isabelle Langlois, Executive Director of Amnesty International Francophone Canada, says En plus d’une pétition de 7000 signatures, elle brandit à l’appui un avis juridique indiquant que “la pratique du Canada d’incarcérer des personnes migrantes dans les prisons provinciales n’est pas conforme aux normes du droit international relative aux droits de person”. The conditions of their detention also violate what is stipulated in the immigrant detention contracts between the federal government and the provinces.

Arbitrary indefinite detention, physical abuse and ill-treatment, and separation of children from parents. Human Rights Watch published last June Debit report on immigration detention and its effect on their mental health covering the period from February 2020 to March 2021. We often give a reason for arresting someone because we fear the person will not show up for the next hearing. But what are you doing? M asks.me Langlois, who recalls that detained migrants are routinely handcuffed and confined to confined spaces under constant surveillance.

For the 2019-2020 fiscal year, according to Canada Border Services Agency data, more than 8,800 immigrants were detained for various reasons, whether because of difficulty in identifying a person or because they represented a public safety risk. However, that number dropped significantly during the 2020-2021 pandemic year, when nearly 2,000 immigrants passed through Canadian immigration detention centers and prisons.

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For Amnesty International, this unprecedented number of releases is evidence that it is not necessary to arrest so many people. “On the base, no one should be held for these reasons and under these circumstances,” M . contendsme Langlois.

fragile people

She also said she was concerned about the revelations in the Human Rights Watch report, which raised the alarm about the impact of these arrests on the already fragile mental health of many migrants. “Some people have experienced tremendous stress and anxiety, and their reactions to people in uniform, we may consider inappropriate. But they are not psychologically disturbed!” confirms the master.me Langlois.

There are only three detention centers in all of Canada. Under the authority of the Canada Border Services Agency, these “immigration detention centers” are located in the three provinces where the most new arrivals are located: British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec, where a new immigration detention center opened at the beginning of the year in Laval.

In addition to these centers, the Canada Border Services Agency may decide to detain a person in a provincial prison. During the year 2020-2021, it imprisoned 40% of the total detainees there, double the percentage recorded in previous years.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch condemn this excessive use of district prisons. “These are maximum security prisons, where common-law prisoners live, who have committed real crimes and are not altar boys,” expresses her displeasure with France – Isabelle Langlois, insisting that the migrants held there “have not broken any law.”

These are maximum security prisons, where common law prisoners live, who have committed real crimes and are not altar boys.

Quebec will not change anything

In January, British Columbia said it would review its agreement with the Canada Border Services Agency and began public consultations. This is not the case with Quebec’s Ministry of Public Security (MSP), which referred to Homework That he did not intend to review his contract with the federal government because prison establishments handle custody only on security grounds, in cases where the CBSA considers that their facilities do not provide adequate oversight. “This collaboration with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is primarily aimed at ensuring the protection of the community,” MSP’s media relations department responded, while stressing that immigrants are “subject to the same rules” as other detainees.

The Canada Border Services Agency, for its part, ensures that detention is used only as a “last resort”. The choice of immigrant detention is guided by the maintenance of the latter’s “mental health and well-being” and the “safety of Canadians”. These detention procedures are consistent with all existing procedural safeguards and detainees’ rights guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. All detention decisions are also reviewed by a member of the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board, who is an independent decision maker,” the CBSA Communications Division noted.

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