A new country report released by the United Nations’ Human Rights Committee has raised concern about the length of immigration detentions in Canada
In a report released earlier this week, the United Nations Human Rights Committee expressed their concerns regarding Canada’s practice of detaining foreign nationals in immigration custody and in particular the indeterminate lengths of these detentions.
The Committee characterized immigration detention as a measure of last resort, emphasizing the importance of non-custodial measures and alternatives to detention to be used in treatment of foreign nationals and detainees. In their report, the Committee also proposed several recommendations for Canada to follow in regards to immigration detentions, urging the Canadian government to refrain from detaining individuals for indefinite amounts of time. The Committee also recommended that Canadian authorities establish reasonable time limits for detaining individuals in immigration custody.
The Committee’s report comes after several incidents regarding Canadian immigration detention practices have been reported in the media. Among these incidents is a story of a former permanent resident currently represented by immigration lawyers at Gerami Law. The former permanent resident, a Yemeni national, has been in immigration custody awaiting removal since 2013, a twenty-two months period that has already been characterized as indefinite by the Immigration and Refugee Board. At the individual’s last detention review, the Board held that the removal plans proposed by the government were unlikely to materialize due to volatile conditions in Yemen.
This finding is also supported by a judicial review decision rendered earlier this month when the case was before the Federal Court. In light of the indefinite length of the detention, the Federal Court instructed that immigration officials have a heightened obligation to consider alternatives to detention and specifically release upon conditions. Immigration lawyers at Gerami Law will be putting forth these arguments before the Immigration and Refugee Board at the individual’s next detention review this upcoming Tuesday.