There was a joint submission filed in the UN Human Rights Council by a group of prominent civil and human rights organisations accusing Canada of violating international laws in the way the Canadian immigration detention system treats individuals and children with mental disorders.
The 18-page submission read: “In many cases, this treatment constitutes arbitrary detention, as well as cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.”
The group has requested the UN to press Ottawa over the need for establishing an independent supervising body to monitor the workings of Canada Border Service Agency in their treatment of immigration detainees.
The submission also pointed out that the system lacks a prescribed limit to the detention time period. Most detainees that enter into the system for various reasons don’t have any idea when or even if they will ever be able to get out of it.
In addition to that, the report said:
“A needlessly punitive culture persists within the immigration detention system, and it is enabled by a series of systemic issues that must be addressed through legislative, regulatory, and policy amendments.”
In an announcement made last year, Ralph Goodale – the Public Safety Minister – said that an investment of $138 million has been made to widen the scope of alternatives available for detention.
The decision came after the death of detainees in different detention centers across the country.
Although there has been a decline in the number of detained individuals and children over the past few years, the numbers are still high.
The report also mentioned:
“Detention causes psychological illness, trauma, depression, anxiety, aggression, and other physical, emotional and psychological consequences.”
The government on the other hand, has been dedicated to improving the condition of refugees and immigrants into the country. The healthcare coverage for refugees has been restored and funds have been injected into improving the medical and mental health services provided to immigration detainees.
Meagan Kozlovs is a reporter for Debate Report. She’s worked and interned at Global News Toronto and CHECX. Megan is based in Toronto and covers issues affecting her city. In addition to her severe milk shake addiction, she’s a Netflix enthusiast, a red wine drinker, and a voracious reader.