CANADA: STOP DETAINING REFUGEE AND MIGRANT CHILDREN
Alpha Anawa, a Canadian citizen, spent the first 2-½ years of his life in an immigration detention centre with his Cameroonian mother. In February 2016, a 16-year-old Syrian refugee boy was held in solitary confinement in immigration detention for 3 weeks.
Over the past ten years, up to 800 children have been held in immigration detention in Canada. Children are placed in detention, with or without their parents, for several weeks and in exceptional cases for more than a year.
This must stop. Detention in these circumstances is contrary to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Canada must end the practice of detaining refugee and migrant children for immigration purposes.
SHOULD BE PROTECTED
Adults are also at risk of abuse under Canada's immigration detention practices. In 2015, the Canadian Services Border Agency (CBSA) held 58 adults in immigration detention for more than a year. Four people had been in jail for five years and more. At least 14 people have died in the custody of CBSA and its predecessor agency since 2000.
In July 2015 the UN Human Rights Committee called on Canada to ensure that immigration detention is used as a measure of last resort; that Canada set a reasonable time limit for detention; and provide meaningful alternatives to detention.
The right to be free from arbitrary detention is embedded in the international human rights laws. The best interests of the child must be paramount and the
detention of refugees in migrants in Canada must not be arbitrary or indefinite.