UN slams deportation of mentally ill Jamaican

By Gerald V. Paul

Kingsley Gilliam
Kingsley Gilliam

Deportation of Jamaicans from Canada, especially the mentally ill, is a serious concern, says a director of the Black Action Defense Committee (BADC).

Kingsley Gilliam, who plays a leading role in the health sector of the Jamaica Diaspora Program, told The Camera the UN has ruled that Canada’s 2011 deportation of a mentally ill Jamaican man who 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,” Gilliam said.

The committee said 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 committee, migrated to Canada at age 18 and was here 31 years up to Aug. 20, 2011 when he was deported.

Gilliam said that in ordering his deportation, Canadian authorities ruled he was not eligible to be here 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 said while it recognized Canada’s legitimate interest in protecting the public, the criminal offences were related to his mental illness. He was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 1993.

The committee’s experts noted that in 2005 after he was evicted from his home, he started living in shelters. He also had difficulty taking his medication and experienced psychotic relapses.

According to the UN experts, the deportation is a violation by the state of its obligations under Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Gerald V. Paul
Gerald V. Paul