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Vigil brings together community in solidarity with refugees

Community members stand solemnly

  Confederation Park played host to an emotional candlelight Vigil on the evening of September 16th, gathering a crowd of supporters in solidarity with all the migrants.

The Vigil was organized to recognize and honour all those whose lives, families, and communities are torn apart and kept apart by borders and immigration systems. As well, it commemorated the two year anniversary of the migrant strike at the Lindsay Super Jail. The vigil called for an end to the wars, aggression, economic instability and climate chaos which are the catalysts of displacement.

The event was hosted by End Immigration Detention Peterborough, a network of individuals who demand an end to deportations and detentions, and fight for full immigration status for all migrants.

According to the media focal person of the End Immigration Detention Peterborough, the event was mainly to bring awareness to current immigration situations across the world, and about the ways Canada is handling the recent refugees who are finding safe spaces to live.

The group was formed as a result of a strike and the many other acts of resistance that followed the September 17th 2013 event where 191 migrants jailed at the Lindsay maximum-security prison went on hunger strike in response to their indefinite detention without trial or charge.

The Vigil gave the supporters a space for dialogues of love and support that they had for refugees in Peterborough, Lindsay and around the world.

One of the supporters in attendance said, “ I want the borders on this Mother Earth to be all ripped down.” She wanted everyone to understand that everybody is related. The woman brought to light how people have allowed these man made boarders to hold them back from sharing love the way they are supposed to share it. She also offered up a song to every single person looking for a home right now, an Indigenous song titled “ May We All Fly Like Eagles”. 

The supporters not only showed their solidarity for migrants across the world, they also displayed messages to the community; posters with stories of migrant detainees to put up around town. This was in hopes of beginning a discussion on the topic of migrant injustice in the community.

One of the posters read, “ Are the actions undertaken by Immigration Canada unjust? I would go so far as to say their actions are inhumane, despicable and grossly hypocritical.” These were the words of Amin Mjasiri, who was deported to Kenya, a country he had not lived in for two decades.

The efforts of End Immigration Detention Peterborough does not end with the candlelight vigil. Various other initiative were taken to raise funds, and bring awareness towards the plight of immigrants and refugees.

A candle burns slowly

Currently, as stated by the End Immigration Detention Peterborough, “Detained migrants, their families, and their supporters, have formed the Campaign to End Indefinite Detention, and are making four simple and pragmatic demands:

1) Freedom for the wrongly jailed. Release all migrant detainees who have been held for longer than 90 days.

2) End arbitrary, and indefinite detention. If removal cannot happen within 90 days, immigration detainees must be released. Limits on detention periods are recommended by the United Nations, and are the law in the United States, and the European Union.

3) No maximum security holds. Immigration detainees should not be held in maximum security provincial jails. They must have access to basic services and be close to family members.

4) Overhaul the adjudication process. Give migrants fair and full access to judicial review, legal aid, bail programs, and pro-bono representation.


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