The recent death of a 50-year-old woman, who was detained at a detention facility managed by the Canadian Immigration officials, has highlighted the mistreatment of immigration detainees in Canada. It is the 10th detention death in Canada since 2012.
The human rights activists are urging the UN to increase pressure on the Canadian Government to end the controversial practice. They have filed an application in the Geneva-based Human Rights Council of the UN to constitute an independent agency to oversee the functioning of Canada Border Services Agency. The human rights record of Canada will be reviewed during the early part of 2018.
A quick look at facts
The immigration authorities have detained 162 minors in 2016-17. They were either housed with guardians or kept with their parents in an Immigration Facility. The detainees’ percentage dropped to 16.2 when compared to the previous year. According to the joint submission, the detainees were subjected to degrading, inhuman and cruel treatment.
The immigrants are arbitrarily detained and no time limit is specified for their release. Policy amendments, regulatory and legislative measure are necessary to address the systemic issues and put an end to the punitive culture in the immigration detention system.
As per the detention system, detention of people with mental health issues and children as well is highly controversial. Some of the immigration detainees are housed in provincial jails, which need to be addressed quickly.
According to the reports, over 10,000 migrants have jailed annually during the regime of the previous government without any charges. The number of detainees dropped to 6253 in 2016.
Canada is the only Developed Nation to Detain Immigrants Indefinitely
An 18-month limit is set for the release of immigrants in the European Union. Even in the U.S., the detainees are to be released after 180 days in case of a no foreseeable deportation. Canada is the only nation among the developed countries detaining immigrants indefinitely.
CBSA officials are detaining people if their identity is not proved or considered dangerous. It has put the average detention at 3 weeks, but that could be extended to several years in prison.
Many are unable to prove their citizenship and their home countries are unwilling to accept them back. Canada is attracting a lot of criticism for keeping the immigrants in provincial jails. It has exemplified further with the recent death of a woman.
A new Framework
Canada is taking steps to drop the children from detainees list. It is also considering preventing housing the immigrants in provincial jails.