Hunger Strikers Call for Investigation into Recent Deaths, Ongoing Excessive Use of Force, and Inhumane Conditions
Contact: Francisca Porchas, Puente Movement, firstname.lastname@example.org, 602-616-4311
Saturday, June 13, 2015
Eloy, AZ—In response to ongoing abuse and neglect, the crisis of criminalization and deportation, and two recent suspicious deaths of men detained, over 200 detainees have launched a hunger strike within the Eloy Detention Center.
This morning at 9:45am, the men sat down in the recreation yard and declared their strike, risking retaliation for taking action against what they call brutal and inhumane conditions. Their demands include:
- Independent investigation into the two recent deaths in Eloy, both of which happened under mysterious circumstances after guard abuse, as well as an investigation into the ongoing problem of excessive use of force and deaths inside Eloy
- Improved conditions, including adequate medical and mental health care
- Access to legal resources and court hearings when requested
- An end to the exploitation of detainees’ work
- No more criminalization, detention, and deportations
Sandra Ojeda, whose husband is currently detained in Eloy and participating in the hunger strike, says, “My husband returned to the United States after being deported to Mexico because he feared for his life there. Now, he has to fear for his life because of the way guards are treating people detained in Eloy. Because he doesn’t want to live in fear any longer, he and other detainees are making sure their voices are heard.”
Francisca Porchas says, “The deaths of these two men has triggered outrage of people that have nothing but their bodies as a way to demand justice. A hunger strike is the only tool they feel like they have in a place where they are deprived of everything. The ICE director owes them an in-person visit and to enter into principled negotiations with respect for their safety and dignity. Detention is killing our people via the neglect of medical and mental health care, torture through solitary confinement, excessive use of force. It’s an inhumane insititution that needs to be abolished.”
Families of the hunger strikers, people formerly detained at Eloy, and concerned community members are currently rallying outside of the detention center in support of the hunger strikers.
Anonymous letters from detainees who witnessed the assaults and personal testimony of medical neglect in detention are available below. Translations also available.
To Whom It May Concern:
I expose to the media and any human rights organization through this letter the abuses in CCA Eloy Detention Center. This institution hired by the federal government makes all kinds of abuses against persons detained by ICE.
In May 2015, there were two situations of abuses against immigrants in which they lost their lives at the hands of CCA officers. In CCA, there have been more than 20 deaths and the federal government has not done anything about it, even though they know about violations against the people detained and have not respected the Geneva Convention that any foreigner has the right to be treated with respect and dignity as a human being.
I am detained at Eloy in Tank 300 and have witnessed these abuses against detainees by ICE. On one occasion, I witnessed how they beat a man who had his hands up and begged for his right to see his lawyer. That request was denied by CCA guard and in response the immigrant was met with aggression and excessive use of force leaving him dead at the hands of the CCA guards. Until now, neither the federal government nor ICE have acted to ensure the integreity and respect for human rights in these installations.
By means of this letter, I am asking the federal government and the United States Congress to conduct an investigation to stop the abuses that immigrants suffer and to clarify the deaths of the immigrants and that those guilty of these abuses are brough to justice for the the crimes they have committed against detainees who died from this abuse and/or negligence. I ask the United Nations to demand justice and human rights. Alos, I ask all the media to support this cause. I am only asking for peace and justice for the families of the dead. We trust the federal government will answer our demands and requests based on the rights and respect for all foreigners under international conventions.letter-mental-health-neglect
My name is ? I am a person that suffers from schizophrenia and unfortunately I have been taking medicine for my disease for eight years. I believe and I know that here in this center they do not give me the right medicine because it is very expensive. A doctor from this center told me that in the street I would be treated differently and the medicine I could find would be better because here they do not permit the medicine that I need as they are considered drugs. I think if I was out side with society it would be better for my treatment. I would not be afraid of all the people I do not know and be kept in a cage and hearing voices and seeing shadows that go form bad to worse. My medications are RESPIRADON, CARBAMASEPIM, CENTRALINEletter-medical-negletc
I would like to inform that the medical at Eloy Detention Center is not giving me the attention I need due to my medical problems and that day by day my condition is getting worse. The doctors here do not take notice to the people that need medical attention. They are not paying attention to what I have they actually can not detect what my illness is. The only thing they give me are pain relievers for my pain. I do not know if that is what they should be giving me or if maybe in the future that will affect me with any other organ or such. I had an appointment with the doctor last month and till this day they have not called me to go to my appointment.
On the other hand it is a torture being here day by day. The mattress is very hard it is actually like a canvas without a sponge this is all inhumane.