Cubans in Cayman Islands detention centre on hunger strike

Thursday, January 17, 2019

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GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands (CMC) — Eight Cubans who are being held at the Immigration Detention Centre here have started a hunger strike to protest against the immigration process.

According to Cayman News Service (CNS), the Cubans, who arrived here last September, are also upset at how their asylum claims are being handled, their access to bi-lingual attorneys and restricted access to communications.

In a press release on Wednesday, officials said that Chief Immigration Officer Garfield Wong met with the Cubans last Thursday because the detainees were conducting a peaceful protest last week.

Wong said government is committed to addressing their concerns and that more meetings with immigration and other agencies are planned.

“Mindful of the peaceful nature of the protest, immigration and prison officers are working closely to de-escalate matters as much as possible,” immigration officials stated.

It's reported that earlier this week five mobile phones were confiscated from the migrants.

Detainees are permitted to make 10 minutes of outgoing phone calls per week on a landline and can receive incoming calls 24 hours a day.

However, the Cubans say they are not economic migrants but refugees whose rights should be respected and it was the removal of their phones that triggered the hunger strike.

The Cubans landed in Cayman on September 28, among a group of eleven after their boat got into difficulties in local waters on their way to Central America.

Three people from that group have already been repatriated to Cuba.

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