At the UN’s request, Canada suspends deportation of former child refugee to Somalia.

Canada Border Services Agency has suspended the imminent deportation of a former child refugee and foster child to Somalia at the request of the United Nations.

Abdilahi Elmi, 34, arrived in Toronto in 1995 after fleeing Somalia and a living in a refugee camp. He and his mother were granted refugee protection in Canada. But at age 13, he was placed in foster care, and, by age 16, he was living on the streets and having run-ins with the law.

Elmi, who never acquired citizenship, recently served a six-month sentence for assault. Following his jail time, border officials put him on immigration hold and ruled he was “inadmissible” in Canada because of his criminal past.

He was scheduled to be deported Monday to Kismayo, where a terrorist attack in July left 26 people dead, including Canadian journalist Hodan Nalayeh.

This week, in a series of news conferences, his supporters argued that Elmi was a victim of neglect by children’s aid officials who did not help him acquire permanent status in Canada, a necessary step toward his citizenship, which would have spared him from deportation. They also argued that sending him back to Somalia was akin to a death sentence.

Elmi, who is in custody in Edmonton, appealed to the Federal Court to suspend his deportation, but that request was denied on Friday.

His supporters had also appealed to the UN Human Rights Committee, arguing that Canada would violate its international human rights obligations by removing Elmi to Somalia, one of the most dangerous countries in the world. He has no family there and does not know the language and culture.

On Friday, the UN body asked the Canadian government not to remove Elmi, while it reviews his case.

Source: The Star (Canada)