Citation: 2020 RLLR 54
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: July 21, 2020
Panel: Hazelyn Ross
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Marko Vitorovich
RPD Number: TB0-11379
Associated RPD Number(s): TB0-11378, TB0-11380, TB0-11381
ATIP Number: A-2021-00655
ATIP Pages: 000159-000170
REASONS FOR DECISION
 This is a redetermination of the claim for Convention refugee protection made by [XXX], principal claimant, [XXX] (wife), [XXX], (minor claimant), and [XXX]. The claimants are citizens of Hungary who seek protection in Canada pursuant to sections 96 and 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA)1 on the basis of their Roma ethnicity.
 Their claims for protection were initially heard jointly with those of the [XXX] family and a decision rendered in 2011. On an application for judicial review, Hughes, J. returned the matter to the Board for redetermination, on the ground that the Refugee Protection Division (the RPD) had made erroneous credibility findings and had failed to deal adequately with the issue of state protection. Hughes, J. also ordered that the claims of the two families be severed.
 The claimants rely on the allegations in the narrative portion of the principal claimant’s Basis of Claim, (BOC)2. The following is a summary of those allegations.
• That they are Roma, and readily recognised as such by their physical appearance and mode of dress;
• They have suffered severe discrimination and harassment in their native Hungary, which discrimination and harassment started in school and has been lifelong;
• They have been abused by the Hungarian police with the harassment growing worse during the 1990’s;
• Hungarian Guard and skinheads attack them and other Roma frequently;
• During an attack on [XXX] 1995, the wife was beaten so severely that she [XXX];
• In the fall of 1996 a group of 4-5 skinheads attacked the principal claimant at his home. The attackers dragged him outside, where they beat him. They set fire to his home. They also beat his neighbours. The claimants went to the police but were told that the police would not help;
• While the atmosphere was calmer during the 2000’s, between [XXX] 2005 and [XXX] 2009, the claimants were victims of a number of anti-Roma incidents. Their family members and friends were also victims of anti-Roma discrimination and violence. The principal claimant was kept naked in a cell for three days.
• In [XXX] 2006, police arrested and detained the principal claimant on suspicion of theft as he was going to visit his wife after she had [XXX]. The police accused him of stealing the items he was taking to her. He was detained for three days. When he was released, he was asked whether he wished to file a complaint against the arresting officers. He provided the badge numbers of the officers who arrested and interrogated him, but was told that those badge numbers did not exist.
• In [XXX] 2009, the wife and the principal claimant were returning home from a movie when the police stopped them for an identification check. The wife was let go, but the principal claimant was again detained for three days. His clothes were taken from him and he was kept naked for the entire three days. He was beaten during the first night and interrogated over the next two days of his detention, all with the intention of making him confess to crimes. When he was released, he was asked whether he wanted to make a complaint about his detention, however, when he said he wanted to, the officer asked him to consider it carefully as they [the police] would look into his family (a veiled threat).
• The claimants made the decision to leave Hungary in [XXX] 2009, but before they could do so, they were victims of several serious incidents. On [XXX], 2010 Hungarian Guards attacked the wife and her mother while they were in town. The wife suffered injury to her head, arms, and legs. When they tried to make a complaint, the officer on duty accused the principal claimant of beating the wife and ordered the claimants to leave the police station.
• In [XXX] 2009, Hungarian Guards violently invaded the claimants’ home, forcing them to flee. The Guards tried to set fire to the home, but the claimants re-entered the home and were able to douse the fire before it could spread.
• All attempts to seek police protection proved futile, as each and every time they turned to the police, the police refused to assist them.
 For the following reasons, the panel finds that the claimants are Convention refugees.
The Claimant’s Evidence
 At the hearing, both adult claimants gave extensive oral testimony about the major incidents that prompted them to leave Hungary. They testified that they are readily identified as Roma persons by their physical appearance. As a result, the wife has been subjected to numerous random attacks while out on the street, which attacks she blamed on the reluctance of the white Hungarian population to accept the Roma. The principal claimant testified that he is readily identified as a Roma person by the shape of his face, his large nose and the colour of his skin. As a result, he has had trouble finding work and was attacked at least twice a month. He spoke of mistrust when he was out in the public sphere that culminated in him being falsely arrested and accused of theft in [XXX] 2006.
 When she was asked what prompted the family to leave Hungary, the wife responded that the turning point was the home invasion of [XXX] 2009.
The Major Incidents
 In assessing the wife’s oral testimony about the major incidents in the claim, the panel finds that overall her testimony was not credible and trustworthy because much of that testimony was exaggerated or unsubstantiated. This was particularly true of her testimony respecting her experience with the medical field.
The Wife’s Experiences with the medical system
 The wife submitted medical reports that show that she had [XXX]. She alleged that the only reason she had the [XXX] was because the doctor who performed the previous [XXX] was negligent. She attributed his alleged negligence to her Roma ethnicity. She testified that he was silent when she confronted him with his negligence. The wife interpreted the doctor’s silence as proof that she was correct in her assumptions.
 The panel gives little weight to this part of the wife’s testimony because it is internally inconsistent and contradicted by the medical reports she submitted. The medical report shows that the wife suffered from [XXX] and underwent [XXX] to address her condition. The first was in [XXX] 2000; and the second in 2006. The 2006 [XXX] was required because her condition had returned.3 When the panel gave the wife the opportunity to respond to the content of the medical reports, she asserted that she had only [XXX]. This response is inconsistent with her earlier testimony that she had [XXX] for the same condition, one of which was unnecessary and was entirely due to the doctor’s negligence and anti-Roma sentiment, a position she maintained throughout the hearing.
 The panel is not an expert in any discipline of medicine, therefore, it is unable to attribute, as the wife did, that the [XXX] in 2006 was a) unnecessary, and b) occasioned only by the doctor’s racism. Further, given the inconsistency between the medical report and the wife’ s assertions that there were [XXX]; and her later denial that there had been a [XXX], the panel finds that her allegations that the doctor was negligent in his treatment of her condition because he harbored racist sentiment towards the Roma are neither credible nor trustworthy.
 The wife also alleged medical misconduct when she gave [XXX]. She claimed that the staff forced her to [XXX], when, due to her prior [XXX], she was supposed to [XXX] section. She testified that she brought this to the staff’s attention, who ignored her. Instead the medical staff performed tests designed to [XXX] and forced her to [XXX] “then and there’. In her view, the medical personnel did not act in a professional way and wanted her to suffer because she was Roma.
 For the following reasons, the panel rejects these allegations. The medical report regarding this event lists the following diagnosis: [XXX]
 The medical report regarding this event sets out the circumstances of the wife’s [XXX] as:
“she got registered into our department following the [XXX] and the [XXX] got organised at [XXX] with a [XXX]. In regards to the previous [XXX] removal, to the [XXX] that is involved into the [XXX] and the prolonged period of time the [XXX] was completed with [XXX]; as a result of which a [XXX] without any complications … “4
 The panel interpreted this portion of the medical report to be saying that the wife went into [XXX]. That she suffered from [XXX] and that due to additional medical complications relating to her previous [XXX] and the length of [XXX], a decision was made to [XXX]. When the panel gave the wife the opportunity to respond to its interpretation of the medical report, she reiterated her claim that, due to her Roma ethnicity, the medical personnel forced her to [XXX] over her protestations. She maintained that as she was present at the time she was in a good position to assess how the staff acted towards her. In response to her counsel, she testified that during the [XXX] she was diagnosed with [XXX] and that her doctor had told her that it would be better for her to have a [XXX] so that they do not burst.
 While not disputing the wife’s subjective appreciation of the attitude of the medical staff, the panel is unable to find, as she suggested, that anti-Roma racism was the reason for the medical actions that were taken. It is clear that the wife felt that because of her earlier [XXX] she could not or should not have to [XXX]. No objective medical evidence was provided on this point, and, without additional information, the panel is unable to find, as the wife asserts, that the medical decisions taken by the staff were motivated solely by anti-Roma racism. The panel gives little weight to the wife’s testimony regarding the medical treatment she received when [XXX].
The October 2009 Home Invasion
 The claimants allege that in [XXX] 2009 Hungarian Guards entered their home in an unprovoked attack. The wife testified that they entered through the window. As the Guards came in, the family fled through the back door. She testified that as they fled, she looked back. She noticed that the Guards were not following them and were, in fact, leaving. The family returned to the house and on entering noticed that the Guards had started a fire using some of the family’s clothing. They put the fire out. The principal claimant corroborated the wife’s account but added that the fire did not spread because the Guards had used their damp clothes to start the fire.
 While the description of the attack aligns with the claimants’ general allegations as well as with the claims of Roma claimants, generally, for the following reasons the panel finds that the claimants’ account of the incident is not credible and trustworthy.
 According to the claimants the incident was relatively brief. The Guards came in through the window, the claimants fled through the back door, the Guards started a fire; they left and the claimants returned home. The panel is not prepared to accept that the Guards would use damp clothes to start a fire; even, if they did, the panel is not prepared to accept that their attempt would yield a fire that the claimants would be forced to put out. The panel is of the view that this is not what could reasonably be expected in those circumstances and, therefore, the credibility of the claimants’ testimony regarding the [XXX] 2009 home invasion is seriously undermined. The panel finds, on a balance of probabilities, that the alleged home invasion did not occur.
The Other Incidents
 The claimants alleged that following an attack on [XXX] 1995 the wife suffered a [XXX] as a result of the injuries she received. No independent evidence was put forward that could link the alleged [XXX] to an attack by Hungarian guards. Further, the wife’s testimony about the [XXX] mises concerns that the panel has not been able to resolve in her favour. She testified that while she went to the hospital because she felt pain, the only procedure that was carried out was a [XXX] that she testified was done at her urging. She received no other medical treatment, even though the doctor told her that the [XXX].
 The panel finds that, notwithstanding the allegation that Roma women are routinely discriminated against in hospital, the events described by the wife are not in keeping with what might reasonably be expected where a [XXX] woman attends hospital complaining of with abdominal pain. Given that a [XXX] was in fact performed, the panel is not persuaded that the wife received discriminatory treatment amounting to persecution when she [XXX].
The [XXX] 2010 Incident
 The claimants alleged that shortly before the wife came to Canada, Hungarian Guards attacked her and her mother. This incident allegedly took place on [XXX] 2010. The wife claimed to have suffered injury to her arms and legs. She testified that she received no assistance from either the police or the doctors. Photographs of her bruises were tendered as part of Exhibit 115. The wife testified that the Immigration Officer who interviewed them advised her to take the photographs. The photographs were the only supporting documentation respecting the alleged incident. The panel is aware of the presumption of truthfulness that attaches to the wife’s sworn testimony, however, in light of its prior credibility findings, and absent any supporting documents that originated in Hungary, the panel is unable to draw any inferences or make any findings regarding the injuries and the alleged incident because the photographs cannot tell the circumstances under which the injuries were sustained.
 While the panel does not dispute that the wife, as a Roma person, has experienced discriminatory treatment in Hungary, given the credibility concerns that the panel has not been able to resolve in her favour, the panel finds that the wife has not met her onus to establish, on a balance of probabilities, that she faces a serious possibility of persecution if returned to Hungary. The panel finds that the wife is not a Convention refugee. For the same reason, the panel finds that she has not established that she is a person in need of protection.
The Principal Claimant
 The principal claimant testified that he was readily identified as a Roma person by his appearance, specifically his large nose. The panel places little reliance on this claim, nonetheless, it finds, on a balance of probabilities, that the principal claimant’s association with his wife and her family and residence in a Roma area would likely cause him to be perceived as being Roma, which in turn leaves him open to the type of discriminatory treatment accorded to Roma persons in Hungary. Having made this finding, the panel examined the principal claimant’s allegations of persecution. His allegations centred around two incidents. In both incidents the police arrested and detained him for seventy-two hours before releasing him without charge. The documentary evidence indicates that this is common practice in Hungary.
 The first incident occurred in 2006, shortly after the wife [XXX]. The principal claimant testified that he was on his way to the hospital to visit her. He was taking her some supplies she needed, things like shampoo and sanitary napkins. On his way to the hospital the police stopped him. The officers accused him of stealing the items, a charge he denied. The police took him to the police station, where he was detained for seventy-two hours before being released without charges. During this period the police questioned and beat the principal claimant. For the three days he was detained, his family did not know where he was.
 The second incident occurred in [XXX] 2009. The principal claimant testified that when the police arrested him, they told him that they were looking for him because he was charged with theft. At the police station he was stripped of his clothes, and in his words “given dirty rags”. But for these rags he was naked. He remained naked throughout the three days of his detention. The principal claimant testified that he was humiliated during the three days he was detained stating that “it was unnatural the way they humiliated me”. Asked to explain what he meant he replied that he did not want to do in front of the female claimants. Later on he would testify that since coming to Canada and finding work here, he feels like a man again.
 The principal claimant was rather emotional while he was giving this testimony, however, he would not elaborate on his experience during detention. He testified that in 2013 he was assessed by a [XXX], who recommended that he join a support group and that he could benefit from [XXX].6 In fact, the principal claimant was found to have a score of [XXX].7 The principal claimant testified that he did not follow up on these treatment recommendations largely because of financial difficulty. Nonetheless, he testified that if returned to Hungary he would likely break down again.
 While the panel is cautious of medical [XXX] reports that state that the only way that claimants can recover from their [XXX] and other health issues is for them to remain in Canada, it found that the principal claimant presented his testimony, which centred mainly on these two incidents and an incident in a public park, in a straightforward manner and without any seeming attempt at subterfuge. For this reason, the panel accepts the finding of the [XXX] that the principal claimant has suffered or [XXX], which likely stems from his experiences while detained.
 Further, based on the principal claimant’s demeanour while testifying about the second detention, the panel accepts that he was mistreated as he alleged. The documentary evidence indicates that Roma persons are often mistreated while they are in custody.8 Given these statements in the documentary evidence, the panel’s findings respecting his perceived Roma identity as well as the principal claimant’s testimony respecting the mistreatment he received at the hands of the police, the panel finds that, if returned to Hungary, there is a serious possibility that the police would continue to arrest and harass the principal claimant. Further, the panel finds that such continued harassment is treatment that would amount to persecution.
 As the police are the agents of persecution, the panel finds that it is not likely that state protection would be available to the principal claimant. For these reasons, the panel finds that he is a Convention refugee.
The Minor Claimant
 On the behalf of the minor claimant it was advanced by both the adult claimants and their counsel that he would be persecuted if he were to return to Hungary. They posited that the minor claimant would be denied adequate schooling and that he would suffer the same discriminatory treatment that all Roma face in Hungary. Segregated schooling for Roma children is well documented.9 However, this is not a situation that the now [XXX] years old minor claimant has ever faced, and there was little persuasive evidence before the panel that the minor claimant who has had the benefit of being educated in the Ontario school system will likely face segregated schooling if returned to Hungary.
 It was also argued that the minor claimant was not sufficiently proficient in the Hungarian language to allow him to attend a Hungarian school. The panel is not persuaded by this argument because there was no independent evidence of the minor claimant’s proficiency in the Hungarian language put before it that could allow the panel to make such a conclusion. What is evident is that he is reliant on his parents for support. The panel has already found that the principal claimant is a Convention refugee and by virtue of family membership and his dependency on the principal claimant, the panel finds that the minor claimant is also a Convention refugee.
 [XXX] is the wife’s mother. She claims to have experienced lifelong discrimination and harassment in Hungary. She relies on the principal claimant’s narrative, which states that she was with the wife on [XXX] 2010 when Guardists attacked them. Unlike the wife, no photographs were tendered to support this claim. The panel has already found that there was insufficient credible evidence before it to allow it to find that Guardists attacked the wife on [XXX] 2010 and for the same reasons it is unable to find that [XXX] was also attacked on that date.
 In so far as [XXX] relies on the claims of the principal claimant, the panel’s adverse credibility findings respecting these claims also apply to her. The panel is aware that, as a Roma person in Hungary and as indicated in the documentary evidence, [XXX] likely faced many acts of discrimination during her lifetime. Nonetheless, she has not put forward sufficient credible and trustworthy evidence to allow the panel to conclude that the acts of discrimination had risen to the level of persecution. For this reason the panel finds that she has not made out her claim to be a Convention refugee.
 Notwithstanding, its findings respecting the wife, and [XXX] the panel considered whether there is a serious possibility that they would face persecution as family members of the principal claimant. It has concluded that, on a balance of probabilities, they are likely to do so because of the targeting of the principal claimant by the police in their neighbourhood. Accordingly, the panel finds that the wife, the minor claimant, and [XXX] are Convention refugees.
 [XXX] claimed protection in Canada pursuant to sections 96 and 97(1) of the IRPA on the basis of their Roma ethnicity. Having considered their claims, the Refugee Protection Division finds that they are Convention refugees.
 Pursuant to section 96 of the IRPA, their claims are accepted.
(signed) H. Ross
July 21, 2020
1 The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), S.C. 2001, c.27, as amended, sections 96 and 97(1).
2 Exhibit 2, Basis of Claim forms (BOC).
3 Exhibit 15, p. 55.
4 Exhibit 15, p. 61.
5 Exhibit 11.
6 Exhibit 12.
8 Exhibit 6, National Documentation Package (NDP) for Hungary, version 31 March 2020, Item 2.1.