Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1051850675318775
Migrant detainees held at the Laval Migrant Prison are calling for their immediate release amidst a COVID-19 outbreak. To date, four cases have been confirmed. One detainee has initiated an indefinite hunger strike, read his statement here.
Migrants are often detained at the Laval Migrant Prison if they lack identity documents or if the Canada Border Services Agency believes they may not show up for deportation. Last spring, the Laval Migrant Prison was the site of a courageous, 8-day hunger strike, which generated coast-to-coast support and resulted in the release of most detainees at the time. Now, the migrant prison is filling up once again, and although CBSA has not resumed deportations from Quebec, it has resisted calls to release detainees. At the same time, the federal government refuses to respond to the ongoing demand for Status For All and to implement a regularization program for all undocumented migrants, which is the real reason these detainees’ lives are now at risk.
At present, COVID-positive detainees report being held in solitary confinement. Kept in small cells with tiny windows, they are only allowed out to shower or to make phone calls. Some detainees report that their symptoms were not taken seriously, while others have received COVID-19 tests, but were not given the results- leaving them in fear and uncertainty about their health. While detainees remain in solitary cells, guards continue to come and go from the institution, exposing detainees to a higher risk of contracting COVID-19.
The detainees’ call also comes in the context of rising cases at provincial and federal prisons across the country. At Bordeaux Prison, around 125 prisoners have contracted COVID-19 and the entire prison has been locked down- leaving prisoners confined to their cells for 23-24 hours a day, with no showers and little access to outside support.
We join our voices to the growing movement demanding the abolition of prisons and police, and the carceral logic that underpins them. Solitary confinement has been widely denounced as a form of torture- it is unacceptable that such measures are being used to contain the outbreak. Detainees-in detention centres and in prisons- must be immediately released!
#FreeThemAll ! #StatusForAll !
What Can You Do?
Calls and E-mails
Contact government officials to demand the immediate release of all detainees! You can direct phone calls and e-mails to:
1) Federal Minister of Public Safety Bill Blair
2) Your member of Parliament, find their contact information here
I am writing to ask that you release detainees held at the Laval Immigration Holding Centre. There are currently at least four confirmed cases of COVID-19, and all detainees are being kept in solitary confinement. It is appalling that a detainee has had to launch a hunger-strike in order to pressure Public Safety Minister Bill Blair to take action.
Solitary confinement has widely been denounced as a form of torture and it is unacceptable that such measures are being used to contain the outbreak. All detainees must be released- with safe, decent housing ensured.
Use the hashtag set #FreeThemAll #StatusForAll along with #HungerStrikeLaval to show your support for the struggle on social media! We encourage you to tag Bill Blair, Marco Mendicino, Justin Trudeau, and other government officials.
The struggle of the detainees demands our urgent solidarity and support. We will continue to post updates over the coming days- stay tuned for upcoming actions!