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Refugee Claimants Speak: Testimonies on the STCA

    Friday, January 15, 2021 - 14:46
    Photo Credit: 
    Alli Jarrar / Amnesty International

    Amnesty has gathered powerful testimonies from refugee claimants who were returned by Canada to the United States and were detained as a result. They have shared their stories to raise awareness about the true impact of this unconstitutional agreement on people's lives. 

    Once you've read the testimonies, reflect on what they mean to you and why you care about refugee rights. Then take action here >>

    “They handed us over to American officials who immediately handcuffed me. I didn’t understand why they did this; I am not violent and was quiet and calm. Then to my horror, they handcuffed my wife who was already exhausted and so weak. In the U.S. vehicle, they attached our handcuffs to the bench in front of us, like we were criminals. I started crying. One of the American officials began laughing at me. It was inhumane.”

    - Refugee claimant returned to the US under the STCA 

    * * *

    The week I spent there was a terrifying, isolating, and psychologically traumatic experience. I did not see any other people except for those who delivered my meals. I could not leave my cell at all, and spent most of my time sleeping to escape reality, and praying to be released soon.”

    - Refugee claimant returned to the US under the STCA 

    * * *

    “Even when showering, there is no privacy. Everyone can see your parts, not just the detainees, but also the officers. Everyone can see … I am not a young woman. I have never shown my naked body to anyone but my husband. Now, I have to show everyone. I am ashamed and humiliated.”

    - Refugee claimant returned to the US under the STCA 

    * * *

    “The guards were particularly mean and intimidating when I was in solitary confinement. I was still struggling with English at that time, and whenever I needed someone to repeat something to me because I couldn’t understand, they yelled at me and insulted me. I cried so much in that room”

    - Refugee claimant returned to the US under the STCA 

    * * *

    “The father described to me how his children were not sleeping [in detention]. The father and mother were made to stay in separate rooms, each with their child of the same sex, and shared with other, unknown detainees.”

    “He said if the children crawled into the twin bed with the parent, the guards would wake them up and make them move into a separate bed. He asked “Can’t they stay with us for comfort at least until they fall asleep?”. They were told “no”. If the child crawled back into the bed again, they were again woken up and forced to sleep alone.”

    -Lawyer relaying client's experience being returned to the US under the STCA

    ACT NOW: Take part in our virtual Lobby Week for Refugee Rights from February 22-26 to call on your MP to support the end of the STCA >>