Some 80 women who have immigrated to the United States and are being detained at a detention camp in Texas have launched a hunger strike, demanding their and their children’s release from the center, reports revealed Thursday.
“You should know that this is just the beginning and we will not stop [the hunger strike] until we achieve our goals. This strike will continue until each of us is freed,” said the women in a statement from earlier this week but which came to light Thursday.
They also added that they refuse to take part in any services inside the Karnes Family Detention Camp in Texas, where they are being held – some of whom have been there for over 10 months.
The women, most of whom have migrated from Central America, say they are asylum seekers who have been denied bond even though they have already established a credible fear of violence if they are returned home.
In some cases their children have been released, while the mothers remain behind bars.
According the United Nations, people migrating from Central America, particularly El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, should be treated as refugees as they are likely leaving situations of violence.
The US immigration and customs enforcement (ICE) told The Guardian that they were unaware of the hunger strike, but “fully respected the rights of all people to voice their opinion without interference.”
Advocates for the women say they have been barred from visiting Karnes, reported Democracy Now, after accusations that they were encouraging the women to take part in the hunger strike. However, the advocates have dismissed these claims.