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UN says Canada's deportation of mentally ill Jamaican man inhumane

Published:Thursday | May 21, 2015 | 5:02 PM

The United Nations has ruled that Canada’s 2011 deportation of a mentally ill Jamaican man who had spent much of his life in Canada amounted to cruel and inhumane treatment.

According to the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC), the actions of Canada effectively left the man without medical and family support.

The committee says Canada should allow the Jamaican man to return if he wishes, and provide him with adequate compensation.

The man, referred to as 'AHG' by the UN Human Rights Committee, migrated to Canada when he was 18 years old and had been living there for 31 years up to August 29, 2011 when he was deported.

READ: Canada deports mentally ill Jamaican

In ordering his deportation, the Canadian authorities ruled that he was not eligible to be in the country as a result of his 2005 conviction for assault with a weapon.

Canada argued that the Jamaican’s removal was reasonable in the circumstances and proportionate to the gravity of the crimes committed, and the danger posed to the Canadian public.

But the UNHRC says while it recognises Canada’s legitimate interest in protecting the public, the man's criminal offences were recognised to be related to his mental illness.

He had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 1993.

The committee’s experts noted that in 2005 after the man was evicted from his home, he started living in shelters.

He also had difficulty taking his medication and experienced psychotic relapses.

According to the experts, under the circumstances, the deportation constituted a violation by the State of its obligations under article seven of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The UN committee says the aim of Article 7 is to protect the dignity and the physical and mental integrity of the individual.