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All Countries Romania

2020 RLLR 41

Citation: 2020 RLLR 41
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: July 7, 2020
Panel: G. Griffith
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Peter G Ivanyi
Country: Romania
RPD Number: TB9-02978
Associated RPD Number: TB9-03059, TB9-03070
ATIP Number: A-2021-00655
ATIP Pages: 000076-000084


REASONS FOR DECISION

[1]       [XXX], the principal claimant, his common-law spouse, [XXX], the female claimant, and their son, [XXX], the minor, claim refugee protection in Canada, pursuant to s. 96 and s.97 (1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA)i.

[2]       The minor son was born in the USA and is a citizen of the USA.

[3]       [XXX] was appointed Designated Representative for the minor son.

INTRODUCTION

[4]       The claimants claim to be ethnic “Roma”, and the adult claimants, who were born in Romania, testify that, in Romania, they have been victims of extreme discrimination, because of their ethnicity. They allege that, in a number of cases of discrimination and confrontation by Romanians, the police in Romania have not assisted, or have been complicit.

[5]       The adult claimants left Romania in [XXX] and, after a stay in the USA, where an asylum claim was made, they travelled to Canada on [XXX] 2018.

[6]       The principal claimant lived for brief periods in Sweden and Belgium in the years 2003 and 2006, respectively.

[7]       The Minister’s Representative provided submissions (written only) on the issue of the credibility of the overall testimony, as well as with specific concerns and request for clarification on the nature of criminal charges issued to the principal claimant in the USA, and clarification on the claimants’ method of entering Canada.

[8]       No evidence was adduced in the claim of the US-born minor claimant.

[9]       The principal claimant is also the father of three children who, at the time of the hearing, were listed as being resident in Romania.

ALLEGATIONS:

[10]     A summary of the key elements of the testimony is, as follows.

[11]     The principal claimant gave oral testimony in which he states the following, as in the written narrative of the claimants’ Basis of Claim (BOC)ii Form.

[12]     He states that in Romania, starting at an early age, as an ethnic Roma, he, personally, experienced extreme discrimination and persecution.

[13]     He testifies that he and his spouse are identified as “Roma” in Romania, as that, generally, a Roma is identified by a combination of skin color, facial hair, manner of dress, customs, language, and places of residence, and that they endure certain impositions such as that a “Roma” must register with the police if there is any attempt at residential relocation.

[14]     The principal claimant testifies that he experienced those conditions, starting as a young child, and that, at school, he experienced hard times, being called names such as “dirty gypsy” or “crow”. He testifies that the teachers at school had no sympathy for him, or for other Roma students from his community.

[15]     The principal claimant testifies that, as a result of the regular harassment at school, he sought employment at an early age, but that in searching for employment, also, he experienced difficulties and discrimination. He testifies that he was regularly refused employment, with only the explanation that he was Roma.

[16]     The principal claimant testifies further, that, as an adult, also, he experienced direct physical and verbal abuse by Romanian persons, and even by the police in Romania. He testifies that on three occasions when he sought help of the police in Romania, he was rebuffed and insulted.

[17]     The principal claimant testifies to the following specific incidents that he faced as an adult., such as happened in Romania at a market, in the year 2008. On that occasion, he states, he became involved in a physical and verbal altercation at a grocery store with employees who perceived that his cousin, his wife and himself were there to steal.

[18]     The principal claimant testifies that they were followed around, and, at the cashier, an employee pulled the hair of his cousin. He testifies that he intervened, to also protect his wife, and he was punched in the face, and they were called “crows”. As well, when they managed to exit the store, they noticed on that there were other persons on the outside who were gathering to physically abuse them.

[19]     The principal claimant testifies that, in that same year, 2008, while on his way to work in one of the villages, he was beaten by racist Romanians. Also, in that same year, he and his wife were kicked out of a restaurant because Romanians in the building felt uncomfortable. And, when he attempted to make a report to the police, it was not accepted.

[20]     The principal claimant states, further, that in the year 2010, while driving with a friend, they were pulled over by the police, and that even after offering a bribe, they were beaten by the police.

[21]     The principal claimant testifies further, as contained in his narrativeiii, to incidents that occurred in the years 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015, where the underlying facts are alleged to be incidents of discrimination, and physical altercations with Romanians, in which, also, he states, the police in Romania did not offer any assistance, following complaints, and that the police, themselves, assisted in the discrimination.

[22]     The principal claimant testifies that he left Romania in [XXX] 2016, and, after travelling with his brother [XXX] through [XXX] he arrived in the USA, where he asked for asylum.

[23]     The principal claimant testifies that he was arrested for being illegally in the USA, and, later, he was released, with an ankle monitor device.

[24]     The principal claimant testifies that, on [XXX] 2018, he and the spouse travelled to Canada in order to make a refugee claim, and they did so, travelling by boat.

DETERMINATION

[25]     For reasons below, I find that the claimants are Convention refugees, as, in my opinion, their expressed subjective fear has an objective basis.iv

ANALYSIS

[26]     The claimants’ national identity is established on the basis of a certified true copy of documentsv submitted by Immigration Canada, and, as well, as established in their package of personal documentsvi which include a copy of the national Identity card of Romania, in the name of the adult claimants.

Credibility/plausibility

[27]     I agree with counsel’s submissions, namely that, overall, the evidence is credible, and that it presents information of a serious violation of the claimants’ human rights in Romania.

[28]     I am satisfied that the principal claimant presented his testimony in a straightforward and consistent manner, and I find that he clarified, satisfactorily, the concerns raised by the Ministervii, in the written document.

[29]     I find that the principal claimant has adequately clarified that a charge against him in the USA was the result of an accusation of a [XXX] and that, in the end, it was [XXX] by a US Judge.

[30]     I note that, also, as clarification, the principal claimant has explainedviii that, in [XXX] by the police on a [XXX] on the street. Similarly, he explained, in [XXX], the principal claimant was [XXX] for the same offence of [XXX] on the street. He returned to Romania in 2007, following which he travelled around Europe job hunting, but eventually resorting to [XXX].

[31]     I find that the principal claimant was straightforward in his testimony in this area, and, with particular respect to the Minister’s concern on the charge against the principal claimant in the USA, the testimony is accepted, and not fatal to the claims.

[32]     As well, I find that the details of the manner in which the adult claimants entered Canada [XXX] in a process that, seemingly was contrary to CBSA requirements, is not a bar to the making of a refugee claim, and given the clarification provided.

Objective Basis

[33]     I find that the claims, as presented by the adult claimants, are supported by the guidelines in the Hand Bookix, and by the case-lawx, where it is held that a number of discriminatory and harassing acts may cumulatively amount to persecution.

[34]     I find that, in addition to the claimants’ undisputed testimony, I can rely on the documentary evidencexi, some of which forms part of Counsel’s submissions.

[35]     In his writtenxii and oral submissions, Counsel has provided a helpful review of the country condition documents and case law that relate to Romania, and as found in his documentary packagexiii.

[36]     In my own review, also, I find that a relevant guide to my conclusions is found in excerpts of the Response to Information Request, ROU105285.Exiv, as follows.

[37]     In that documentxv, the following is said, in part.

” … The World Bank report indicates that Roma in Romania are “poor, vulnerable and socially excluded” (28 Feb. 2014, 5). A report produced by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) that” draws on the results of the UNDP/World Bank /European Commission regional Roma 2011 survey [3]”, reports that approximately 81 percent of Roma are at risk of poverty compared to approximately 41 percent of non-Roma (EU and UN 2012, 24.xvi

Under the heading Treatment of Roma (Treatment by Society), it is stated that, “the US Department of State’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2014 indicates that roma face systemic discrimination by society, which affects them in areas of education, housing, health and employment (US 25 June 2015)… Country Reports 2014 notes that stereotypes and discriminatory language regarding Roma was widespread (US 25 June 2015,33)… According to a report the Open Society Foundation (OSF)… indicates that “pervasive racism and racist violence continue to distance many Roma families and groups from the greater society (OSF 10 Sept 2013yvii.

[38]     I find to be relevant, also, a documentxviii found in Counsel’s package where the opening sentence reads, ” … In a ruling dealing with what it called “institutionalized racism” directed against Roma in Romania, the European Court of Human Rights has for the first time explicitly made use of the term “ethnic profiling” with regard to police action it found to be discriminatory”xix.

Failure to claim elsewhere- [XXX]

[39]     I have accepted as reasonable, the claimant’s testimony and counsel’s submissions on the issue that the claimant failed to seek asylum in [XXX], which he visited in the year 2003 and 2006, respectively. Counsel points out that, and as found in his documentary package, an IRB documentxx, notwithstanding that there is not likely a bar against claiming refugee protection in these countries by citizens of these countries, the provisions of the Asnar Protocolxxi virtually prevents the filing of refugee claims from citizen of European States, as there is an almost zero recognition of claims among the European States.

[40]     Counsel points out that, according to some documentary evidencexxii, procedurally, the governments of these countries behave differently in the matter of asylum claims, and that some countries reject applications from countries considered to be safe countries.

[41]     I have determined, also, that the claimants’ decision to leave the USA to seek protection in Canada is not unreasonable, The principal claimant testifies that he was informed that Canada could provide them with protection, while, at the same time, during his wait in the USA he faced the difficulty of surviving on little money [XXX] while his spouse, the female claimant, [XXX] for money and food.

[42]     For these reasons and after careful consideration of the evidence and submissions, I find that the adult claimants [XXX], the principal claimant, and his common-law spouse, [XXX], the female claimant have established valid claims and are Convention refugees.

[43]     I accept the claims of [XXX].

[44]     I reject the claim of the son, [XXX], the minor claimant, a citizen of the USA. In his claim, no evidence has been adduced in support, pursuant to s.96 or s. 97 of IRPA.

(signed)           G. Griffith

July 7, 2020

i Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, S.C. 2001, c.27.
ii Exhibit 2.
iii Ibid.
iv Rajudeen v. Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration) (1984), 55 N.R. 129 (F.C.A.).
v Exhibit 1.
vi Exhibit 6
vii Exhibit
viii Exbibit 6
ix Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Handbook on Procedures and Criteria for Determining Refugee Status, under the I 951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees, Geneva, January 1988, paras 54-55.
x Madelat v. Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration), [1991] No. 49 (F.C.A.)
xi Exhibit 3, Index to National Documentary Package for Romania
xii Exhibit 10
xiii Exhibit 3
xiv Exhibit 3, Index to NDP for Romania, Response to Information Request (RIR), ROUI05285.E: Romania: Situation of Roma, including treatment by society and government authorities; state protection and support services available to Roma (2011-2015), Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa, 9 October 2015.
xv Ibid.
xvi Ibid.
xvii Ibid.
xviii Exhibit 10: Case Watch: European Court Finds Ethnic Profiling by the Police Discriminatory, Zsolt Bobis, Open Society Justice Initiative, April 23, 2019
xix Ibid.
xx Exhibit 12, European Union: Application of the Protocol on Asylum for Nationals of Member States of the European Union (2013- June 2015). Refworld (UNHCR), Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, 9 July 2015
xxi ibid
xxii Ibid.

Categories
All Countries Romania

2020 RLLR 11

Citation: 2020 RLLR 11
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: September 9, 2020
Panel: Marlene Hogarth
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Peter Ivanyi
Country: Romania
RPD Number: TB9-11480
Associated RPD Number(s): TB9-11534, TB9-11543, TB9-11544, TB9-11545, TB9-11546
ATIP Number: A-2021-00540
ATIP Pages: 000072-000075


DECISION

[1]       MEMBER: I have considered your testimony and all the other evidence in this case and I’m ready to render my decision orally.

[2]       [XXX], [XXX], [XXX], [XXX], [XXX], and [XXX]; are citizens of Romania and are claiming refugee protection pursuant to Sections 96 and 97 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

[3]       These claims were joined and the claimants’ mother [XXX] was the designated representative.

[4]       I find that you are Convention refugees according to Section 96 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act because of your ethnicity, that being Roma, living in Romania.

[5]       You have alleged the following: you have experienced discrimination throughout your lives. The adult claimants have little schooling; all of the children have been harassed by their teachers and bullied by fellow students. You had difficulty finding work. When employment opportunities arose you were not hired when the employer recognized you as Roma; or if you were hired, you were shortly fired for some unknown excuse.

[6]       Sir, you joined a political party that wanted equality for the Roma people. You visited their homes to see how everyone was doing and organized rallies trying to get equal rights. The Romanian citizens became violent and threatened to kill you if you did not stop the demonstrations and leave Romania. Several Roma were injured, including you. The incidents were reported to the authorities; however the police did not investigate.

[7]       You operated a [XXX] to keep yourself and your family fed. Ma’am, you also worked there. You had to close the [XXX] after you were harassed on several occasions by Roman (sic) citizens and the police. They destroyed your [XXX] and stole your money. On one occasion your finger was badly ripped after an officer seized a vase. You reported these various incidents to the authorities; however you never received any help.

[8]       You decided the discrimination you endured was too much to take. You travelled to Germany and found work there. However you were verbally abused there and the minor, the younger children had difficulties with teachers and fellow classmates in school.

[9]     You decided to come to Canada to claim refugee protection. You arrived on [XXX], 2019 and made a claim on April 25th, 2019.

[10]     Your identities as Roma (sic) citizens has been established by your testimony and the certified copies of your passports held by Immigration Canada, found in Exhibit 1.

[11]     Credibility is always an issue in a refugee protection hearing. I found you were credible witnesses. Your answers were consistent with the documents and your narratives and evidence submitted in Exhibits 5 and 8. We also have country documents that support your allegations pertaining to the treatment that you received. These are all found in the Board’s documentation package found in Exhibit 3. Therefore I believe the allegations that you have written in support of your claim.

[12]     You have suffered discrimination throughout your lives. Documentary evidence found in Exhibit 3, 2.1, states that Romania is a constitutional republic with a democratic multi party parliamentary system. However significant human rights issues included police violence against Roma, endemic official corruption, law enforcement and authorities condoning violence against women and girls. The judiciary did take steps to prosecute and punish officials who committed abuses but the authorities did not have effective mechanisms to do so and delayed proceedings involving alleged police abuse and corruption resulted in many of the cases ending in acquittals.

[13]     The same document continues; police officers were frequently exonerated in cases of alleged beatings or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Discrimination against Roma continued to be a major problem. Romany groups complained that police harassment and brutality including beatings were routine.

[14]     Both domestic and international media observers reported societal discrimination against Roma. They were denied access to or refused service in many public places. Roma also experienced poor access to government services, a shortage of employment opportunities, high rates of school attrition, and inadequate health care. Roma have a higher unemployment rate and a lower life expectancy.

[15]     Now these things are all, all types of occurrences that you had to endure throughout your lives; difficulties finding employment, not continuing your schooling, and having difficulties with the health care, where you had to pay your own. As a matter of fact when you were having your children you had to pay the nurses to come into the room to help you. Even though there is an order by the Ministry of Education forbidding segregation of Romany students, Romany students were placed in segregated classrooms located in separate buildings.

[16]     And I just want to read just a couple of lines from Exhibit 3, 13.4. It states, “The World Bank report indicates that Roma in Romania are poor, vulnerable and socially excluded. They face systematic discrimination by society which affects them in the areas of education, housing, health and employment. It has been learned that government officials make discriminatory statements against Roma. The housing situation is grim; twice as many Roma live in houses made with poor quality material and they have less access to gas, running water, sewage and electricity.”

[17]     As you mentioned in your testimony today, you lived in a two room house and a kitchen that had no running water and no electricity.

[18]     Now we know that there is a law that prohibits discrimination in Romania; however the government does not effectively enforce these prohibitions and Roma often experience discrimination and violence.

[19]     So taking into consideration ail of the evidence that I have in front of me and there are several documents in Exhibit 3 that agree with your testimony and allegations, so taking into account all of the evidence and the documents that show the various forms of discrimination, although the government is attempting to improve the situation with the Roma population discrimination in all forms continues to exist.

[20]     I find that this continued discrimination you have faced amounts to persecution. Therefore considering all of the evidence and your testimony I find that if you returned to Romania there is a serious possibility that you would continue to face persecution. And in your particular situation there is no state protection available for you; you have gone to the police with no results. And there is no Internal Flight Alternative.

[21]     Therefore I accept your claim. You are Convention refugees, according to Section 96 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Congratulations to you all. You can go home and tell your children and I wish you the best of luck. Thank you for coming and telling me your story. I know it’s not an easy thing to do.

[22]     So thank you very much, Counsel, and everybody have a good day.

———- REASONS CONCLUDED ———-