August 6, 2009, New York – The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), one of seven signatories to a letter sent yesterday to Janet Napolitano, Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, decrying conditions at a Louisiana immigration detention center, issued the following statement in response to continued retaliation against detainees there on hunger strike:
“Solitary confinement as retaliatory punishment for peaceful protest of conditions is unacceptable. The men must be taken out of solitary immediately, and the Department of Homeland Security must commit to investigating these reports with the seriousness they deserve.
“The Department of Homeland Security has a history of ignoring the outcry of detainees and their advocates. We urge the new administration to take action against any retaliation. DHS should welcome oversight and monitoring of the prisons where immigrants are locked away.”
Over sixty detainees have participated in hunger strikes over the last month to protest conditions at the immigration detention center in Basile, Louisiana operated by the contractor, LCS Corrections Services Inc. and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Yesterday detainees reported that six men have been put in solitary confinement as a result of their hunger strike. They have played roles as human rights monitors, speaking out about detention conditions and contributing to a damning report compiled by the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice.
To read yesterday’s report in which 100 ICE detainees chronicle abuses they suffered while detained in Basile, Louisiana, see the the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice web page.
The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, the Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach. Learn more at ccrjustice.org.