RCMP abusing young migrants, immigration lawyers say

Krishna Lalbiharie umlalbi0 at SPAMcc.UManitoba.CA
Sat Aug 28 22:38:09 MDT 1999

Friday, August 27, 1999
>>RCMP abusing young migrants, immigration lawyers say
>>Stewart Bell
>>National Post
>>Child migrants ferried to the British Columbia coast from China this
>>summer aboard two smuggling ships have been mistreated by Canadian
>>authorities, who have subjected them to physical abuse, yelling, family
>>separation and strip searches, immigration lawyers alleged yesterday.
>>One youth suffered severe bruising when an enraged Mountie pushed a table
>>against his leg. Teenagers have complained of having their blankets torn
>>off them at 5:30 a.m. and being "roughhandled" out of bed by police, said
>>Kevin Doyle, a lawyer for three of the refugee-claimants.
>>The allegations prompted the Canadian Council for Refugees to call for an
>>independent investigation into the treatment of the minors, who make up a
>>significant portion of the boat people smuggled to Canada aboard the
>>derelict ships that set sail from from China's Fujian province.
>>Meanwhile, an adult refugee claimant has also complained of being abused.
>>Marlene Tyshynski, a Victoria immigration lawyer, said she saw a large
>>bruise on the upper arm of a "very petite" woman who explained the injury
>>had occurred when an RCMP officer forced her out of bed.
>>"She was lying on her bed and she was asked to get up and she hadn't I
>>guess attended to the instruction or appreciated that it was intended for
>>her and so she was grabbed," Ms. Tyshynski said. "She was crying and she
>>showed me the huge bruise, and it was a very large bruise."
>>RCMP officers have been guarding the migrants at a fortified gymnasium at
>>CFB Esquimalt near Victoria, B.C. But the police force said it was not
>>aware of any complaints about its members. "That's the first I've heard
>>about it," said Constable Tracey Rook, an RCMP spokeswoman.
>>After being notified of the latest allegations, the Montreal-based refugee
>>council said yesterday that, if substantiated, they "point to a series of
>>violations of the minors' rights by a variety of government authorities"
>>handling the 75 children who arrived July 28 and Aug. 11.
>>"We are calling for an independent investigation into how Canada is
>>treating these children," said Francisco Rico-Martinez, the council
>>president. "From the information we have received, it appears as if
>>various government institutions are working together to deprive these
>>children of their rights."
>>Aside from the alleged abuse, the council said it was concerned that girls
>>as young as 12 had been subjected to strip-searches as well as "other
>>allegations of harsh treatment of various kinds" including "being
>>frequently shouted at" and pulled from their beds if they did not rise
>>Dogs were paraded between beds during the night while the migrants tried
>>to sleep, the council said, and minors were separated from their parents,
>>causing "significant stress" to families.
>>Mr. Doyle, a Victoria lawyer, said he saw a bruise on the leg of one young
>>person on Thursday night. It was three weeks old yet still visible, he
>>said. "The refugee told me an RCMP officer flew into a rage when the
>>refugee relayed advice given to him by lawyers. The refugee stated that a
>>table was pushed in to his leg.
>>Vaughan Dowie, assistant deputy minister at the Child Services Ministry,
>>said he was not aware of any allegations of mistreatment. He said the
>>youths under 18 are living at a facility in Victoria as well as in foster
>>homes, while five are being detained under the authority of immigration
>>officials. The 18-year-olds are all being detained.
>>He said the children are being housed separate from their parents because
>>the immigration department does not have facilities suitable for families,
>>he said. The youths range in age from 6 to 18. All the passengers on the
>>smuggling ships have claimed refugee status.

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