Pro-Tamil rally planned for Burnaby prison

Posted by admin on Sep 2nd, 2010

By Jennifer Moreau, Burnaby Now September 2, 2010

A refugee rights group is planning a protest at Burnaby’s youth detention centre in support of the Tamil migrants held in custody. No One Is Illegal is set to rally this Saturday, Sept. 11 at 1:30 p.m. outside the Burnaby Youth Custody Services Centre, where 25 Tamil women and 34 children are being held. The group’s Harsha Walia said the migrants should be released immediately.

“There really are no grounds for their detention,” she said, alleging incompetence on behalf of the Canadian Border Services Agency as cause for their continued detention. Not one of the migrants has been released from custody, apart from a handful of unaccompanied minors who have been handed over to the Ministry of Children and Family Development. The Canadian Border Services Agency has argued successfully that the migrants stay in detention while their identities are verified.

Walia said her group is targeting the Burnaby youth prison in particular, because that’s where women and children are. The children aren’t officially being detained, but they are staying with their mothers, who are in custody.

“People should really consider this issue from a frame of compassion and injustice. People who have fled persecution, who have been traumatized in Sri Lanka and have suffered a long journey, are now in jail,” Walia said.

The Tamil migrants arrived in Victoria on Aug. 13, with 492 men, women and children packed on the MV Sun Sea. They are from Sri Lanka but arrived via Thailand.

The third round of detention review hearings is set to start next week and should wrap up by mid-October.

The youth detention centre is at 7900 Fraser Park Dr.
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