Canada’s Expulsion of Mentally Ill Jamaican ‘Inhuman’: UN

Jamaica Observer, May 21, 2015

Canada’s deportation of a mentally ill Jamaican man who had lived in the country for three decades constitutes “cruel and inhuman treatment”, a UN watchdog said Thursday.

Canada’s 2011 decision to deport the man, identified in the media as 52-year-old Audley Horace Gardner, left him “without the medical and family support he depended on,” the UN Human Rights Committee ruled.

The 18-member committee called on Canada to allow Gardner to return to the country if he wished and to give him adequate compensation.

He had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 1993, and Canadian authorities deported him in August 2011 over “serious criminality”, including his conviction six years earlier for assault with a weapon.

Gardner came to Canada when he was aged 18.

The Geneva-based committee, which oversees countries’ adherence to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, said Canada had a right to protect the general public, but stressed that Gardner’s crimes were recognised to be related to his mental illness.

The Jamaican had been evicted from his home in 2005, and experts said he subsequently faced difficulties in accessing medicines and suffered psychotic relapses.

The committee said his deportation breached the international covenant that stipulates: “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment”.

Canadian authorities had argued that the deportation was needed on security grounds and was “reasonable in the circumstances and proportionate to the gravity of the crimes committed, and the danger posed to the Canadian public”.

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