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UN requests stay in Abdilahi Elmi deportation case

Note: A more recent update on this story can be found here. Abdilahi Elmi free while UN considers Canada’s case for deportation!

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – The United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) is considering the case of Abdilahi Elmi, the former child refugee who Canada wants to deport to Somalia, one of the most dangerous countries in the world.  

The Committee has requested that Canada not deport Elmi pending the  review of his case by the UN. It has requested that Canada make its case for deportation before the Committee within 60 days. 

Elmi came to Canada as a child refugee, but the child welfare agency that was responsible for him neglected to apply for citizenship status on his behalf. He now faces deportation after he became involved in the justice system. Deportation would of course never have been an option if he had been allowed to become a Canadian citizen.  

See also: Deportation of former Somali child refugee amounts to a death sentence, Halifax advocates say

This presents a glimmer of hope for Elmi. But a glimmer is all it is.

A decision on a stay of Elmi’s deportation order is expected later today, and without the UN request Elmi could well be deported sometime before the end of the month.

“The UNHRC’s request for interim measures has no bearing on what the Federal Court will do about the stay. But if the Federal Court refuses the stay, the request will be the only thing standing between Mr. Elmi and removal, states a press release issued this afternoon by Professor Audrey Macklin. 

Macklin is a University of Toronto professor and chair in human rights law who has advocated on behalf of Elmi.  

It would be unusual for Canada to ignore the UN’s request and deport Elmi while the UN Committee is investigating, writes Benjamin Perryman on Twitter. Perryman was the lawyer for Abdoul Abdi, another former Somali child refugee who faced a similar fate a year ago.

“We really need people to show their support, that’s what moves politicians. Ralph Goodale has the power to stop this any minute, and they are not going to do so if they don’t believe there’s some kind of support behind that,” El Jones tells the Nova Scotia Advocate.

El Jones has been instrumental in mobilizing support for Elmi in Halifax.

All along this is done in the name of public safety, so in a way the Canadian public is being weaponized. That they need to do this because of the danger to the public, which is us. So it is really important that the public say, not in our name,” Jones says.

Supporters of Elmi are asking that you call Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, and Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Citizenship Immigration and Refugees, himself a Somali refugee. Tell them to stop the deportation of Abdilahi Elmi, and to retroactively grant citizenship to all people without status who have been apprehended by child welfare agencies.

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