Roma family wins asylum in Federal Court

by Jenny Rokhline

A Roma family of 39 is celebrating its victory in Federal Court in Ottawa after a successful challenge of the government’s bid to reverse their asylums.

It is unclear why the government chose to challenge the asylum granted to this Roma family who were involved in active fight against discrimination in their home city of Gyongyospata, Hungary. The government did not dispute the credibility of the asylum claimants, it argued that the Refugee Protection tribunal failed to assess the Hungarian government’s ability to protect its Roma citizens. State protection and the fact that Hungary has been added to the list of the Designated Countries of Origin in the recent changes to Canada’s asylum system are often the reasons why many of Roma asylum claims are refused.

Quoting from the Toronto Start article:

“In his decision, Federal Court Justice Michel Shore said the refugee board was “mindful” of the onus on the claimants to rebut the presumption that they had the state’s protection in Hungary, a democratic state and member of the European Union.

Although Hungarian officials had taken the family’s complaints, the court said there were no meaningful investigations, let alone prosecutions or convictions of those who threatened them.

“A mere willingness by a state to address the situation of the Roma minority in Hungary cannot be ‘equated to adequate state protection,’” wrote Shore. “In other words, theory does not always bridge over into practice.” [emphasis added]

Looking forward to reading this decision!

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