Created on Friday, 13 August 2010 17:41
Written by Press Release
Canada Jails Refugees
Friday August 13, 2010, Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories – N
Is Illegal dropped a large banner which read: “Canada Jails Refugees”
above Highway 1 in Vancouver/Burnaby this morning during rush-hour
The banner drop was in response to the ongoing stigmatization
and public hysteria around the MV Sun Sea, carrying 490 Tamil asylum
seekers to BC. Now that the ship has been boarded by the Navy, Armed
Forces, Canadian Border Services Agency, and RCMP, it is expected that
these migrants will be incarcerated in prisons within the week.
Canada’s immigration legislation permits immigration officials to hold
the Tamil refugee claimants in a state of indefinite detention without
charge based only on a mere suspicion of inadmissibility on so-called
This form of arbitrary and indefinite immigration
detention has previously been condemned internationally as a breach of
fundamental human rights.
Public officials and media outlets have continued to perpetuate false
and dehumanizing stereotypes of the asylum-seekers as ‘illegals’,
‘criminals’, and so-called queue jumpers. The label of “security threat
is” itself is rooted in racist stereotypes and generalized prejudgments
of Tamils as potential terrorists. This deliberately created hysteria
appeals to conservative fears of refugees, and anti-immigrant advocates
like Paul Fromm and the Aryan Guard have gained ground in protesting for
the ship to be sent back.
This public fear-mongering is just another tactic to disguise the
racist policies that define the history and ongoing realities of
Canada’s immigration system. It fits perfectly into Minister of
Censorship and Deportation Jason Kenney’s plan to increase detentions
and deportation of refugees and undocumented migrants, while bringing in
more temporary exploitable migrant labour. Since the Conservatives came
into in power, the number of approved asylum claims has dropped by 56%.
Kenney’s 2009 report reveals a decreasing “target” of 11,000 people to
be accepted refugees and sponsored family members.
Now Public Safety Minister Vic Toews has declared that Cabinet is
drafting new policies to “make this country less welcoming for future
shipments of human cargo.”
In the face of escalating attacks against these asylum-seekers, No
One is Illegal-Vancouver asserts the basic human right to safety,
mobility, and protection. The only crime the migrants have committed is
make a long and dangerous journey, transgressing this imposed border. It
is well known that Tamils in Sri Lanka are fleeing military atrocities
including arbitrary detentions, indiscriminate killings, and mass
displacement into refugee camps. We continue to call for the immediate
release of all the detainees and demand their collective right to stay
in Canada with dignity.
NOII Press Release Uphold the Rights of Tamil Migrants aboard MV Sun Sea!