Shafiq v Australia (HRC, 2006)

Violations: ICCPR art 9(4), ICCPR art 9(1)

Remedy's assessment: Partially remedied

The UN says:

The State party is under an obligation to provide the author with an effective remedy, including release and appropriate compensation.

HRC (2006)

A young Bangladeshi man fled his homeland fearing reprisals from a banned political party. Having been left at an orphanage as a child, Mr Shafiq has no birth certificate or identity papers, no knowledge of his origins or even a surname. Bangladesh has no record of him and denies he is a citizen, rendering him effectively stateless.

Australia detained him on his arrival in 1999 and, disbelieving his refugee claim, tried unsuccessfully to deport him. Mr Shafiq became mentally ill in detention, to the point of hospitalisation. A psychiatric medication given to him caused Mr Shafiq to contract diabetes – a known side-effect of the drug – rendering him insulin-dependent for life.

After seven-and-a-half years in immigration detention, Mr Shafiq became Australia’s longest-serving detainee. The HRC found his detention was arbitrary and that he had been denied habeas corpus. It recommended he be released and compensated.

Finally released in 2007 on a ‘removal pending’ visa, Mr Shafiq believes he would soon die if deported, due to the difficulty he would have obtaining insulin in Bangladesh. Years later, his immigration status remains unchanged.

The HRC maintains follow-up dialogue with Australia.

Remedy Australia deems this case as partially remedied, since Mr Shafiq was released from detention a matter of months after the Committee reached its Final Views. However he has not been compensated.

For source details, see Remedy Australia's 2014 Follow-up Report (PDF 1.3Mb).

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