Ernest Sigman Pillai et al. v. Canada
Human Rights Committee
Communication No. 1763/2008
25 March 2011
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, article 7 (prohibition of torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment), article 23 (protection of the family) and article 24 (protection of minors)
Mr Pillai and Ms Joachimpillai, both Sri Lankan nationals, complained on their own behalf and on behalf of their three children, one of which a Sri Lankan national and the other two Canadian nationals, and argued that their proposed deportation to Sri Lanka would expose them to a real risk of torture in contravention of article 7 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. They also argued that such removal would breach the rights of the children under article 23 in endangering the well-being of their parents and that, while the two younger children were Canadian citizens, the removal of the rest of the family would leave them in Canada with no-one to care for them, breaching their rights under article 24.
The Human Rights Committee concluded that if the removal was carried out, the State would be in breach of article 7 and would have failed to consider the full weight of evidence by Mr Pillai of previous torture and the overall documented prevalence of torture in Sri Lanka. Having found a potential violation of article 7, the Committee did not consider it necessary to examine the alleged breaches of articles 23 and 24.
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