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Asylum seekers should not be treated like criminals, expert says

posted Jan 12, 2012, 1:00 PM by Milorad Borota   [ updated Jan 12, 2012, 1:00 PM ]
By Tara Carman, Postmedia News January 5, 2012 Vancouver Sun

VANCOUVER — Asylum seekers are not criminals and B.C. is flouting international law by treating them as such, according to a report prepared for the United Nations' refugee agency.

Detained refugees in the Vancouver area are more likely than their counterparts in Toronto or Montreal to be held in a provincial jail or pretrial facility rather than an immigration holding centre.

This means asylum seekers are held alongside prisoners and are subject to all the same restrictions — even though they are not criminals — and have limited access to legal counsel, argued the report, published last month and entitled The Human and Financial Cost of Asylum Seekers in Canada. It was written by Delphine Nakache, a University of Ottawa international development professor.

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