Time to End Human Rights Abuses Linked
to Immigration Detention
Earlier this year, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch authored a 100-page report documenting the human rights violations associated with immigration detention in Canada. The findings of this report include the following:
– Canada has no legal limit to the length of immigration detention, meaning that under Canadian law, immigration detainees are at risk of being detained indefinitely.
– Detention can exacerbate existing psychosocial disabilities and frequently triggers new ones, including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress.
– Immigration detainees with mental health conditions face discrimination throughout the detention process. Authorities often view psychosocial disabilities as a risk factor; instead of receiving vital support, immigration detainees with psychosocial disabilities receive disproportionately coercive treatment.
– Immigration detainees who are from communities of colour, particularly detainees who are Black, appear to be incarcerated for longer periods in immigration detention and they are often detained in provincial jails rather than immigration holding centres.
There are a number of steps that can be taken to help put an end to the most harmful effects of immigration detention. Canada should take urgent action to implement the following:
– End the use of provincial jails and other criminal incarceration facilities for immigration detention.
– Amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to provide for a limit to the length of detention.
– Conduct a national independent review of the immigration detention system focusing on systemic racism and discrimination against persons with disabilities, particularly those with actual or perceived mental health conditions.
– Establish an independent body responsible for overseeing and investigating the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA).
It is time to end the human rights abuses that are linked to immigration detention.