July 19, 2018

Hunger strikes: Cayman Islands officials continue to monitor IDC detainees

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GRAND CAYMAN (GIS) – The Department of Immigration () has received notification that four detainees are still currently refusing regular meals provided by the Immigration Detention Centre ().

A group comprised of eight detainees began refusing regular meals from staff on Monday, 2 July 2018. The individuals are said to be protesting the time it has taken for their legal matters to be processed through the court system.

As of now, the IDC is operating with 13 detainees, 12 males and one female.

Onsite officers with Her Majesty’s Prison Service (), who are responsible for facilitating daily routines and security, initiated their protocols for persons who refused meals last week, which included putting the individuals on hourly watch while continuing to closely monitor the situation.

IDC officials clarified that the detainees are refusing meals provided by the facility, but are known to be eating personal food items.

The eight detainees were assessed by doctors with Health Services Authority (HSA), on multiple occasions last week, although the group refused treatment. A doctor also visited the facility this week to assess the four detainees, but only one detainee accepted a consultation with the physician.

Officials stated that doctors will continue to observe their health and safety, and food and water will continue to be offered to the individuals.

Although cellular devices are not allowed within the facility due to safety and security concerns, detainees have managed to get access to social media.

The migrants held at the IDC do have access to external communication that is provided and coordinated by IDC management.

Contrary to reports, two landline telephones are available for use within the facility, one of which is always fully operational and the second landline was returned to service Monday morning.

The officers with HMCIPS and the DOI will continue to monitor the situation closely to ensure the well-being of all detainees is properly maintained.

The Cayman Islands Government remains attentive to the safety, security, and well-being of all migrants detained at the IDC as a matter of critical importance.

Leaders with the Ministry of Human Resources and Immigration and the DOI are currently reviewing alternatives for detention going forward.

Given the inordinate delay in finalising the detainee’s immigration status, the Acting Chief Immigration Officer has agreed to review the continued detention of the migrants. However, in reviewing their detention, any potential risks posed to the community by their release will be the paramount consideration.

Due to the sensitive nature of the situation, further details will not be made available until matters are decided by Government on the best way forward.

END

IMAGE: Medical Dialogues

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