Open Letter from WRMC Chair Lloyd Axworthy and Member Allan Rock
The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, PC, MP
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
March 6, 2023
RE: Letter from organizations on ending immigration detention
Dear Prime Minister:
We write to share a letter from leading Canadian and international organizations serving and working to protect the human rights of migrants and refugee claimants. We echo their call to immediately end the use of provincial jails for immigration detention and to ultimately end the practice of immigration detention in Canada.
Télécharger la lettre ouverte: Enquête du coroner sur le décès d’Abdurahman Hassan et relance de notre appel à mettre fin à l’utilisation des prisons provinciales pour des détentions liées à l’immigration
As you know, Canada’s immigration detention system is deadly; at least 17 people have died in immigration detention since 2000, including most recently on December 25, 2022. The enclosed letter draws attention to the coroner’s inquest into the 2015 death of Abdurahman Hassan, which concluded in February 2023. The inquest highlighted the disturbing conditions that Mr. Hassan endured before his death, including solitary confinement and indefinite detention. As the purpose of the inquest is to prevent similar deaths from taking place in the future, it is significant that the jury’s first recommendation was that the Government of Canada “seek and allocate resources to develop and implement a plan to end the practice of housing immigration detainees in provincial correctional facilities in Ontario”.
This recommendation, and the calls from the organizations in the enclosed letter, cannot be left unaddressed any longer. We cannot allow unjustified fears about public security to override our respect for human rights. Asylum seekers and migrants should be welcomed to Canada with dignity and respect, not dehumanized and detained.
We, along with the organizational signatories, look forward to hearing from you about the government’s plan to end immigration detention in Canada, including by immediately ending the use of provincial jails.
Lloyd Axworthy, PC, CC, OM
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs
World Refugee & Migration Council Chair
Allan Rock, PC, CM, OOnt, KC
Former Ambassador to the United Nations
World Refugee & Migration Council Member
cc Hon. Sean Fraser, PC, MP
Hon. Marco Mendicino, PC, MP
Photo: Wikimedia Commons