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Migrant organisation upset about DNA sweep review

Published:Wednesday | July 13, 2016 | 10:41 AM

A group which represents migrant workers in Canada is rejecting the findings of a review of a 2013 DNA sweep, which saw the police taking samples from Jamaican and other migrant workers in Ontario following a rape.

Migrant rights advocacy organisation, Justicia for Migrant Workers, says it does not agree with the Independent Police Review Director’s finding that there was no racial profiling in the DNA sweep of 99 black and brown migrant men in Bayhem, Ontario.

It says the review is a perpetuation of racist policing of black and racialised communities.

Justicia advocate Chris Ramsaroop says the migrant workers were targeted simply because of the colour of their skin.

The DNA samples were taken from migrant workers in Bayhem after the rape victim said she thought the rapist was a farm worker and that he spoke with an accent, which appeared to be Jamaican.

The DNA canvass was designed to obtain DNA from every migrant worker of colour, regardless of his age, height, weight, or other defining characteristics.

But the review director noted that this was done because the victim’s description of her attacker lacked detail.

The review director said he did not think this was a sufficient rationale for the wide canvass, but he was satisfied the canvassing was not done based on racial stereotypes.

The report also raised concern about whether the consent from the migrant workers who gave samples was truly informed and voluntary and whether they understood that the samples would be later destroyed.

But Justicia for Migrant Workers says it is disappointed with the report it waited two years to receive.