It’s no secret that conditions at ICE detention and processing facilities are deplorable. Long waits for bond hearings, lack of medical care, verbal abuse and worse from guards have all been documented.
Advocates say that as many as 30 asylum-seekers held in ICE detention are on hunger strike to protest these conditions and their unjust detention. In response, ICE officials in El Paso, Texas are force feeding nine of the men through nasal tubes and IV. The force feeding tube stays in their nasal passages 24/7. On some of the individuals the tubes are too large, causing nasal bleeding and unnecessary pain. Many of the detained asylum seekers have wounds and lesions on their throats and nasal passages, and are having difficulty speaking and breathing. We are deeply concerned about their health and well-being.
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture has called the force feeding of detainees who go on hunger strike against their conditions as “tantamount to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.” The World Medical Association has forbidden its members from participating in such practices and the American Medical Association has condemned the practice.
Take action to stop this cruel practice at ICE!
Hunger strikes are one of the only means these men have to protest cruel conditions of confinement. Ruby Kaur, a lawyer for two of the hunger strikers being force-fed told the NYTimes,
“You’re fleeing persecution, you come to this country, and you are being tortured here as well,” she said. “The only avenue they have is to peacefully protest.”
International human rights and medical ethics experts have repeatedly condemned force-feeding hunger strikers, whether at Guantanamo, in Northern Ireland, Israel, Moldova or elsewhere.
Petition to the House Homeland Security, Judiciary, and Oversight and Government Reform Committees
We the undersigned are deeply and urgently concerned about the treatment of immigrant detainees at the El Paso Processing Center in Texas. ICE officials are force feeding nine asylum seeking detainees who have been on a hunger strike, this practice must end immediately.
We have the following demands:
Release the hunger strikers and provide them with immediate medical attention.
Conduct an unannounced inspection of the facility by the Office of the Inspector General of DHS.
Conduct immediate independent monitoring of the ICE facility in El Paso while investigations are carried out into allegations against medical staff and guards, including the review of facility video footage that documents incidents of abuse and mistreatment.
Edit this message to tell users that can't take action (because of their location) how to contribute. For example, consider adding a link to a petition or donation page that you have created, or add social sharing options so that these supporters can help get the word out on social media.