Citation: 2021 RLLR 100
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: November 4, 2021
Panel: Gregory Israelstam
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Amedeo Clivio
RPD Number: TC1-05181
Associated RPD Number(s): N/A
ATIP Number: A-2022-01778
ATIP Pages: N/A
 MEMBER: It is 3:29 p.m. And I am about to deliver my decision and reasons for the decision in the claim for protection made by XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX. XXXX is not present. He has been informed of the decision.
 XXXX XXXX XXXX, the claimant, seeks protection pursuant to s. 96 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. The claimant is a citizen of Hungary.
 In coming to my decision, I’ve taken into account specific cultural and social circumstances of the claimant as well as the chairperson’s sexual orientation and gender identity and expression guidelines. The allegations of this claim are found in the claimant’s Basis of Claim form and his testimony.
 The claimant alleges the following. The claimant fears persecution on the basis of race as well as on the basis of membership in a particular social group, in this case sexual orientation, at the hands of society in general in Hungary. The claimant alleges that if he returns to Hungary, he would be subject to discrimination, harassment, and violence as a result of his Roma ethnicity. He also alleges that he would be subject to discrimination, harassment, violence, and the ostracization of his community because he’s a gay man.
 At the outset of the hearing, I identified credibility as a primary issue for the hearing to focus on. I also identified the availability of state protection as an issue to be addressed.
 With respect to identity, on the file is a certified copy of the claimant’s passport from Hungary. Through this document and his testimony, the claimant has established his personal identity and his citizenship of Hungary. The claimant has also submitted into evidence a certification of Roma ethnicity from the Toronto Roma Community Centre, and therefore I find the claimant has established his ethnic identity as a person of Roma origin.
 With respect to credibility, a claimant testifying under oath or affirmation is presumed to be telling the truth unless there are valid reasons to reject the testimony. In this case, I find no such valid reason to disbelieve the claimant’s testimony. The claimant’s answers to the questions put to him at the hearing were forthright and spontaneous despite some nervous on the part of the claimant. The claimant’s testimony was consistent with his Basis of Claim form. And the harassment and discrimination described by the claimant are consistent with reports found in the National Documentation Package for Hungary. There were no material inconsistencies in the claimant’s testimony. And overall, I find the claimant’s testimony to be credible and trustworthy. The claimant testified that as a Roma he has discriminate — experienced discrimination in education, in the provision of housing, in the provision of other public services, and in employment. The claimant further testified that he’s been a victim of threats and violence in public at the hands of anti-Roma gangs. I find on a balance of probabilities that the claimant has experienced discrimination and harassment as a result of his Roma ethnicity in Hungary. I further find on a balance of probabilities that the claimant has faced violence or the threat of violence in Hungary at the hands of anti-Roma groups. Although discrimination by itself need not constitute persecution, pervasive discrimination when coupled with the threat of violence does equate to persecution in the case of the claimant.
 The claimant testified that he became aware of his sexual orientation when he was about 17 years old. He did not discuss this with his family as the attitudes towards homosexuality in the traditional Roma community may be negative. The claimant testified that he told his family about his sexual orientation shortly before he left for Canada. His father’s negative reaction to this discovery led to the breakup of the claimant’s parents’ marriage and was also the impetus for the claimant to decide he could no longer live in Hungary. As noted, I found the claimant overall to be credible and trustworthy.
 As part of the evidence submitted by the claimant, his mother and a friend have both provided statements that confirmed the claimant’s sexual orientation. In light of my findings on credibility and taking into consideration the supporting evidence, I find on a balance of probabilities that the claimant is a gay man. I further find on a balance of probabilities that the claimant has faced exclusion from his ethnic community and family as a result of his sexual orientation.
 The claimant testified that that if he — he fears that if he were to return to Hungary, he will continue to face the same persecution as he has in the past. I’m satisfied that the claimant has a genuine fear of persecution in the form of harassment, discrimination, and violence on the ground of his Roma ethnicity and his status as a gay man should he return to Hungary.
 Having found the claimant to have a fear of persecution, I turn to the question of whether this fear has an objective basis. Reports from the National Documentation Package for Hungary confirm that persecution and harassment continue for the Roma population of Hungary. I find the claimant’s fear of persecution on the basis of his ethnicity has an objective basis. Reports from the National Documentation Package for Hungary also note that while Hungary has relatively liberal laws concerning sexual minorities, Hungary is moving to an increasingly hostile atmosphere towards the LGBTQ population. Hate speech against this community is increasing as is violence. Both the media and the government are becoming increasingly hostile towards sexual minorities. On May 15th, 2019, the speaker of parliament in Hungary noted publicly that morally there is no difference between the behaviour of the pedophile and the behaviour and proponents of same sex marriage. I find that the claimant’s fear of persecution on the basis of sexual orientation has an objective basis.
 With respect to whether the claimant has an internal flight alternative, country condition reports confirm that persecution against the Roma population of the sort described by the claimant is widespread throughout Hungary and is in many instances tacitly approved of by authorities. In addition, as noted above, the increase in hostility towards sexual minorities in Hungary is also pervasive throughout Hungarian society. I find that the claimant would not be able to escape persecution on the grounds of race or sexual orientation in any place within Hungary.
 With respect to state protection, there is a presumption that the state is able to protect its nationals. Such a presumption can only be displaced on clear and convincing evidence of the state’s inability to protect its citizens. Such protection need not be perfect. Country condition reports for Hungary do indicate that the government has expressed a willingness to provide protection to all citizens. However, reports also suggest that this willingness has not necessarily translated into adequate protection. Reports say the hardening of anti-Roma attitudes in both the general population and state authorities in Hungary, corresponding to an increase in nationalist sentiment.
 In many instances, authorities are unable or unwilling to protect Roma from extremist violence. The claimant’s own testimony is that he did contact the police about attacks and threats. The claimant testified that at times the police were dismissive, but that even when they were not, no arrests or further investigations were made. The claimant’s experience confirms — conforms to descriptions found in the National Documentation Package. Crimes against Roma may be reported, but ignored or dismissed without investigation. I find that given the claimant’s Roma ethnicity and sexual orientation, the claimant has established that in his case there is clear and convincing evidence that the state is unable or unwilling to protect him against persecution.
 Based on the evidence before me and the testimony of the claimant, I conclude the claimant has established a serious possibility of persecution on the Convention ground of race as well as the Convention ground of membership in a particular social group, in this case sexual orientation, if he were to return to Hungary. The claimant is therefore a Convention refugee pursuant to s. 96 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. His claim for protection is accepted. That concludes my reasons.
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