Prison deaths…

June 6, 2018 

CBC News – Hala Ghonaim
Families of inmates who died at London, Ont. jail say ‘enough is enough’ – Thirteen inmates at the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre have died in the last decade

Families and lawyers in London are upset with the death toll at the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre.  “The circumstances around many of their deaths remain unclear. Some were murdered, some died from overdoses and others by suicide.”  The twelve men and one woman were memorialize with thirteen cross and the gathering of 50 or so family members are promising to organize more demonstrations.  Related article: Canadian Lawyer – Gabrielle Giroday  COA overturns ruling in case involving beaten inmate – Plaintiffs had sought damages from feds after injuries in jail

CBC News – Associated Press
UN calls on U.S. to stop separating children from asylum seekers – Zero-tolerance approach of U.S. has included treating children accompanied by adults as unaccompanied

The UN is calling the separation of children from their immigrant parents a violation of the human rights of the child and is calling on the US to immediately cease the practice.  “…children should never be detained for reasons related to their own or their parents’ migration status. Detention is never in the best interests of the child and always constitutes a child rights violation.”  Ravina Shamdasani, a spokesperson for the UN Human Rights Office, “…told a UN briefing Tuesday in Geneva that the practice of separating families amounted to an “arbitrary and unlawful” interference in family life, calling it a “serious violation” of the rights of children.”   The US has adopted a policy of zero tolerance for what is views as illegal immigrants and has criminalized all such entry, leading to the decision to separate rather than jail the children.

CBC News –
Ottawa expands program to collect fingerprints, photos from foreign nationals coming to Canada

Canada has decided to collect more personal data from people crossing our borders, including fingerprints.  Previously, Canada collected personal data only in the case of an application for a visa and only from applicants originating in a certain few countries.  Now the program will expand to all those crossing the border and those from over 150 countries, partially because all other Five Eyes countries already collect the data.  Applicants will be charged an $85 fee for the privilege and the RCMP will hold the data.  To date no info about privacy concerns or disposing of that data at some point.

Globe and Mail – Sunny Dhillon
Vancouver Police Department’s use of carding disproportionately targets Indigenous people

Carding or the practice of discriminating and recording people stopped on the street by police is alive and well in Vancouver.  While the department says that the stops were prompted by crime, 16% of the stops involved Indigenous people who make up 2% of the population and 5% were Black who represent only 1%.  Josh Paterson, executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, says:  “We know First Nations are over-policed, and this is just another shocking indication of the degree.”

CBC News – Jorge Barrera
Ottawa’s promised Indigenous rights bill not as advertised, says report from new think-tank

The Yellowhead Institute, based out of Ryerson University’s Faculty of Arts, is saying that though the full explanation is not available early indication of the way the federal government is approaching the Indigenous Rights issues.  At first, in keeping with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People the federal government promised to end the Indian Act.  Instead  Institute director and Anishinaabe scholar Hayden King finds shortcomings in the federal proposals:  “We find that nearly all of Canada’s proposed changes to its relationship with First Nation peoples neglect issues of land restitution and treaty obligations.”

MOMS (Ottawa) Awarded M.S.M. by Governor General

Congratulations to Farhat Rehman, M.S.M., Ottawa, Ontario who was recently awarded The Meritorious Service Decoration which celebrates Canadians who have performed an exceptional deed or activity that brings honour to Canada.  One of the founders of the MOMS group in Ottawa, Farhat has become through her pain and struggle one of our leading and powerful advocates for the mentally ill in prison.  The award reads:

Farhat Rehman has drawn from her own experiences to help others. With a loved one in prison, she discovered a lack of support and resources for prisoners suffering from mental illness. As the driving force behind Mothers Offering Mutual Support, she has become a leading advocate for improved mental health care for inmates to encourage their rehabilitation and reintegration as contributing members of society.

Irish Times – Katherine O’Donnell
Let’s listen attentively to survivors of Magdalene Laundries – Rite&Reason: Mansion House event a small, significant step towards transitional justice

This week is a significant week in Ireland for the young girls and women who were placed in the Magdalene laundries at a young age.  In this link, O’Donnell recognizes the struggle to bring restorative justice to the experience and the process of listening and speaking about deep hurt.  Related article: The Irish Times – James M. Smith   Dublin Honours Magdalenes too late for Catherine but she would have liked it   Related article: Irish Examiner   Two cathartic days for 200 dignified Magdalene survivors