Representatives of two leading advocacy organizations will speak at an hearing on U.S. detention of immigrants and asylum seekers before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights tomorrow, Oct. 12. This is the first time the Human Rights Commission has held a hearing on the policy and practice of immigration detention. This unprecedented hearing comes at a critical time as the U.S. Government is increasing its use of immigration detention and immigration policies have entered the national debate.
Every year tens of thousands of men, women and children seeking safety in the U.S. are detained while their cases for asylum are being considered.
Speakers will discuss the government's detention and deportation practices that violate the human rights of immigrants in America. They will discuss how U.S. detention and immigration enforcement system does not provide adequate protection for the human rights of immigrants and refugee children; the inhumane conditions of immigration detention centers; and the impact of U.S. immigration detention and enforcement policies on refugees and asylum seekers.
"People seeking asylum, including women and young children, are often held in dire conditions, sometimes in former prisons" says Michelle Brané, director of the Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children's detention and asylum program, who has conducted in-depth research on the issue. "Punitive conditions within the U.S. detention system violate American standards of justice and international law provisions. The U.S. prides itself on family values. Shutting up families in prison is a direct contradiction of these values."
"Immigrants and refugees deserve to be treated with dignity and fairness," says Kerri Sherlock Talbot, director of policy and planning for the Rights Working Group. "We need to uphold America as a country that respects human rights and guarantees humane treatment of all detainees. Recent tragic deaths in detention have spurred Congress and the international community to investigate the treatment of detainees within the U.S. The hearing will give us an opportunity to shine a spotlight on our hidden detention system and encourage the United States to pass laws that guarantee humane treatment to immigrants in detention."
WHAT: Thematic Hearing before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on the impact of U.S. immigration detention
WHEN: Friday, October 12, 2007, 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
WHERE: Organization of American States, 1889 F Street, NW ~ Salon David Padilha Vidal Room, Salon A of the GSB Building
WHO: Michelle Brané, Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children
Christopher Nugent, Holland & Knight, Pro Bono Counsel for the Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children; Kerri Sherlock Talbot, Rights Working Group
Note: The meeting is open to the public. The hearings will be Webcast live through the OAS website, www.oas.org.