Majority of Tamil boat people remain imprisoned in Canada

Posted by admin on Sep 23rd, 2010

By Salim Jiwa Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

VANCOUVER – Hundreds of Tamil boat people remain detained in prisons across the Greater Vancouver area along with children several weeks after their arrival in Canada. The detentions are carried out under the pretext of establishing the identity of the refugees despite the fact that a massive majority of those who arrive in this country without identification by aircraft or cross from the land border with the United States are not detained for such long durations. However, there has been no outrage from the Canadian public and those politicians who decried Sri Lanka’s detention of thousands after the end of the war between the government and the LTTE have remained silent on the imprisonment of refugees.

In the past 24 hours, a small number have been ordered released. Some have had to pay bonds of up to $5,000.

“There have been three more orders for release from detention in the past 24 hours; the first new release orders by members of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) since Thursday, September 16.” said Melissa Anderson, a spokesperson for the independent IRB which has to adhere to United Nations conventions on the treatment of refugees.

“Thus far (and I do not have the final information from the IRB itinerant location at the Fraser Regional Correctional Centre for today yet), there have been 12 orders for release from detention – seven women and five men, including the three latest announced in this report.”

“These last three releases were of men detained at FRCC by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) on the grounds of establishing identity. One was ordered released yesterday and the other two were ordered released today (Thursday). Cash bonds must be posted for two of the three men: one of $5000 and one of $1500.”

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