All Countries Slovakia

2020 RLLR 18

Citation: 2020 RLLR 18
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: March 10, 2020
Panel: Micheal Somers
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Howard Gilbert
Country: Slovakia
RPD Number: TB8-26137
Associated RPD Number(s): TB8-26192, TB8-26204, TB8-26205
ATIP Number: A-2021-00540
ATIP Pages: 000114-0000117


[1]       MEMBER: The Panel has considered the testimony offered today. And the testimony is from the parents, the married couple in this family. The Board has also considered other relevant evidence in this case and is ready to render its decision orally. The claimants’ a family, a mother, father, husband, wife and two sons. One of the sons, obviously the youngest is a minor. They are all citizens of Slovakia. And they have all made claims for refugee protection under Sections 96 and 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Regarding the youngest son, his mother has been designated as the representative for him in this proceeding.

[2]       Regarding the determination of the claim of the youngest son, the Board has taken into consideration Guidelines regarding Child Refugees. Regarding the claim of the female claimant, that is the mother, the Board has taken into consideration the Chairperson ‘s Gender Guidelines regarding all relevant factors such as social, cultural context in which the mother finds herself in respect to the issues of state protection. And the changing country conditions were examined with respect to the Gender Guidelines.


[3]       The specifics of the claim are stated in the mother’ s, the adult female claimant’ s narrative which is found in her Basis of Claim form (BOC). She and the claimants allege the following. They are citizens of Slovakia and their ethnicity is that of Roma. They have been harassed, discriminated, threatened with violence and in some cases, assaulted while living in Slovakia. They maintain that the security apparatus in particular the police do not protect them because of their discriminatory attitude towards the Roma community. The claimants left Slovakia on or about [XXX], 2018. And filed their application for refugee protection on or about October 14th, 2018.


[4]       The Board finds that the claimants are Convention refugees pursuant to Section 96 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. The reasons are as follows.


[5]       The Board is concerned with the issues of credibility and state protection.

Identity and Credibility

[6]       The Board is satisfied with the claimants’ personal identity as well as being citizens of Slovakia. And this is based on certified copies of their passports. In addition, the Board is satisfied with the claimants’ ethnicity, that being Roma. It should be noted that the language that was used in today’s proceedings and hearing was that of Roma.

[7]       Furthermore, regarding their identity the Board found the two claimants that testified, the parents, that their testimony regarding their ethnicity was trustworthy, credible. As such, the Board accepts that the claimants are indeed Roma.

[8]       Regarding the country conditions articles and reports that were filed in this proceeding, it does indicate, that is the country conditions articles and reports, do indicate that the Roma community is discriminated on a continuous basis. Simply put, the country condition articles, reports do substantiate the claimants’ testimony and the allegations in their claim as to what they confronted. What other members of the Roma community confront on a daily basis.

[9]       I want to emphasize that the testimony, their brief testimony regarding the incidents that they confronted is substantiated in the country conditions articles. As such, the Board finds that the claimants do have a well­ founded fear of persecution. I would also like to emphasize that the country conditions articles and reports, many of them are from independent reputable international human rights organizations as well as reports from agencies and departments from very well dis-, respected western democracies such as Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

[10]     From the particular incidents that the claimants testified to and mentioned in their narrative, I think it would be fair to say not one of the incidents alone would amount to persecution.  However, put them all together I believe that they do amount to persecution. There, these incidents they testified to and more, and the country condition articles stated are continuous, widespread and yes, they do touch upon in my view core, some core human rights. It affects their education. And again it’ s based on their ethnic-, ethnicity. It affects their employment. It affects their treatment regarding social services. Many of these discriminatory attitudes are actually perpetrated by official agents of the government, including the police. It’s fair to say that this particular minority group as described in the country condition articles and reports are marginalized. Excluded from society in most of the spheres of normal daily life.

[11]     It is trite law that states that refugee law is forward-looking. If they return, would they be dis-, discriminated to the point of persecution. I’ve already answered that question, yes. I’m not going to go through the country condition articles, reports and, to any great detail. Because they all say the same. They state that there’s continued societal discrimination and violence towards the Roma in Slovakia. And yes, as the claimants testified to, there are incidents in which the police are, how I would describe, a little too aggressive and violent towards this particular minority community.

[12]     The reports indicate that extremists, nationalists, what could possibly be described as neo-Nazi groups continue to hold events designated or designated, or designed to intimidate the minority groups, including the Roma by these far right groups. Organized anti-Roma gatherings and locations where tension between the Roma and non-Roma population exist. There’s also indication that the Roma face discrimination not only regarding government services but also, to a certain extent, in the commercial sphere. That is indicate, indicate that employers in Slovakia refused to hire Roma.  And what is alarming is the statistics regarding the unemployed in Roma. That is unemployment statistics for non-Roma compared to Roma. There’s a stark difference.  A significant difference which cannot be explained away by coincidence.

[13]     Now, the Board does acknowledge that there is some comments made that the Slo-, Slovak government has expressed a willingness to improve the treatment of the Roma. And that the government has made commitments to the European Union to make efforts to improve conditions of its minority citizens including, the Roma. However, the Federal Court of Canada has held on a number of occasions that good intentions alone do not protect or improve the plight of the Roma in Slovakia. Is not good, is not good enough.

[14]     There’ s jurisprudence that states that having legislation that protects its citizens but not implemented at all or not adequately impie-, implemented while their citizens are being deprived of important rights, core rights, does not amount to adequate state protection. The Board finds that the Slu-, Slovak government at this time is unable to provide adequate state protection toits citizens of Roma ethnicity.

[15]     Simply put, the Board finds that the claimants have proved or rebutted the presumption of state protection with clear and convincing evidence.

[16]     Based on the previous statements, it’ s clear that there is no viable IFA for these claimants as the discrimination against this minority group is widespread. And as noted, the Slovak government and the police at this time are not adequately protecting the Roma.


[17]     Based on this brief analysis, the Board finds that the claimants are Convention refugees. And accepts their claims.