WEB DESK – The human rights champion of the global democratic world faces a derogatory situation as around 70 detainees of a privately-run immigration holding prison have refused meals in protest against poor conditions at Northwest Detention Center.
According to international media reports, hundreds of inmates participated in the hunger strike earlier this month.
Attorneys and activists monitoring the situation said the protesting inmates are demanding improved conditions at the Northwest Detention Center and an end to the Obama administration’s deportation operations, an unprecedented effort to expel undocumented immigrants from the US.
Although, the original hunger strike that began in early March lost momentum, as several persistent inmates were separated from the general population and put under medical observation. However, there were at least 70 inmates still continuing their hunger strike. The detention center managers said about 750 detainees participated in that strike, though attorneys for inmates said it was more like 1,200 that took part.
Starting Monday, about 70 detainees again refused food, according to Angelica Chazaro, an immigration attorney and University of Washington law professor who represents several of the inmates. The detainees revived the strike after managers failed to improve their working conditions, among other demands, Chazaro said.
It was also reported that only one detainee from the earlier protest is still under medical watch. Jesus Gaspar Navarro, the lone holdout, has fasted since March 6. It is, however, remained unclear that how many from the original protest were still refusing food as of Monday.
The first wave of hunger strikers prompted facility officials to warn of forced feedings if need be. Munoz said ICE has not performed any such court-ordered, involuntary feedings at the detention center.
The new protest coincided with a suicide attempt at the facility, though Chazaro said the incident did not spur the latest strike. An ICE official told Reuters an inmate was taken to the hospital Monday, but did not offer any more details.