A joint report by the organization HRW (Human Rights Watch) and Amnesty International, released on Thursday (17), points to a series of abuses committed by the Canadian government against immigrants. Even against people with disabilities.
The 100-page document states that people detained by the Canadian immigration system, including those fleeing persecution in their home countries, "are regularly handcuffed and held with little or no contact with the outside world." The detention can last months or even years, according to the entities.
"Canada's abusive immigration detention system stands in stark contrast to the rich diversity and values of equality and justice for which the country is known globally," said Amnesty International Canada's Secretary General Ketty Nivyabandi.
Persons collected by the immigration service do not face any criminal charges, but that does not prevent them going through the Canadian prison system. “Many are held in regional prisons with a regular prison population and are often subjected to solitary confinement,” says the report.
“I felt like my world was ending. They didn't tell me what was happening, nor what I had done wrong”, reported a woman Africa, detained in 2019 and interviewed for the preparation of the document.
She says that her refugee status was never taken into account. “I told [the immigration officer] everything that had happened to me in my country and how I ran away to save my life. But she couldn't understand me and wouldn't let me explain. I thought maybe it would have been better to stay and die at home.”
The document is based on 90 interviews carried out by the entities. People who had been through detention were heard, as well as their families, as well as mental health specialists, academics, lawyers, civil society representatives and government officials.