Groups call for detainees to be freed from Laval facility amid COVID-19 outbreak

posted on February 24, 2021 | in Category Canada | PermaLink

by Pierre Sainte-Arnaud
Source: Presse Canadienne
URL: [link]
Date: February 24, 2021

Several community groups are calling on Ottawa to free those who are being kept at an immigration detention centre in Laval after a COVID-19 outbreak at the facility.

According to information obtained by Solidarité sans frontières, several detainees are on hunger strike to protest poor standards of hygiene at the Centre de surveillance de l’immigration de Laval, saying they are at great risk.

At least five cases of COVID-19 were recorded among the detainees, but 12 to 15 people are in isolation at the facility. Visits have been cancelled since last March — a situation that severely limits their access to legal support and aggravates their isolation, the groups say.

According to accounts from detainees, they are being held in cramped quarters that are badly maintained and there is lots of dust in the air, which causes some to have breathing difficulty and irritations. The detainees say they are not even able to wash their clothes.

Those being held at the CSI Laval are awaiting deportation, are undocumented immigrants or entered Canada in an irregular manner, so they are considered to be flight risks.

However, the groups say their detention is both cruel and dangerous during the pandemic.

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