All Countries Hungary

2021 RLLR 81

Citation: 2021 RLLR 81
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: March 11, 2021
Panel: Gregory Israelstam
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Peter G Ivanyi
Country: Hungary
RPD Number: TC0-06678
Associated RPD Number(s): N/A
ATIP Number: A-2022-01778
ATIP Pages: N/A


[1]       MEMBER: Welcome back, everybody.  It is 4:30 p.m., and we are back on the record.  I am now prepared to deliver my decision and reasons for that decision in the matter of XXXX XXXX.

[2]       XXXX XXXX the claimant, is a citizen of Hungary. He seeks protection pursuant to s. 96 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. The claimant travelled to Canada with his wife. However, she is not part of this claim. As she made a previous claim for protection in Canada in 2012, she is not eligible to make a claim for protection now.

[3]       The allegations of this claim can be found in the claimant’s basis of claim form and in his testimony. The claimant fears persecution on the basis of race at the hands of society in general in Hungary, and right­ wing nationalist groups in Hungary in particular. The claimant alleges that if he were to return to Hungary, he would be subject to persecution in the form of denial of occupational opportunities on the basis of his Roma ethnicity, as well as persecution in the form of increased risk of violence, also on the basis of his Roma ethnicity.

[4]       At the outset of the hearing, I identified credibility as the primary issue for the hearing to focus on.

[5]       With respect to identity, on file at Exhibit 1 is a certified copy of the claimant’s passport from Hungary. At Exhibit 4 are other identification documents, as well as a letter from the Roma Community Centre of Toronto, dated February 25th, 2021, attesting to the claimant’s Roma ethnicity. Through these documents and the claimant’s testimony, the claimant has established his personal identity, his citizenship of Hungary, and his Roma ethnicity.

[6]       With respect to credibility, a claimant testified under oath is presumed to be telling the truth unless there exist valid reasons to disbelieve the testimony. In this case, I have no valid reason to reject the claimant’s testimony. The claimant left school in Grade 8, and my credibility assessment takes into account his level of education, as well as other social and cultural factors. I have also taken into account situation factors inherent in the stress of refugee proceedings, as well as any potential difficulties involved through communication with an interpreter.

[7]       The claimant was straightforward in his testimony. There were no material inconsistencies or contradictions in his testimony, and his testimony was generally consistent with his Basis of Claim form. The claimant submitted written documentation in Exhibit 4 in the form of medical reports as well as police reports that confirmed that the claimant, consistent with his testimony, had been the subject of assault and that he had reported these assaults to the police. In his testimony, the claimant was able to provide considerable detail in a spontaneous fashion regarding specific instances of harassment, discrimination, and violence mentioned in his basis of claim form. I find that overall, the claimant was a credible witness. The claimant testified he was denied educational opportunities while living in Hungary. He testified that he was segregated at school with other Roma students, and that he and the other Roma students at school were not allowed to participate in school trips or sports events. He testified that Roma students were often subject to abuse and violence at the hands of other students, and that complaints by Roma students and their parents would be dismissed by school officials

[8]       INTERPRETER: Sorry.

[9]       MEMBER: As noted above, I find the claimant to be a credible — I am sorry. I find the claimant’s testimony to be credible. I find on a balance of probability that the claimant did experience discrimination in education as a result of his Roma ethnicity. With respect to employment opportunities, the claimant testified that he had applied for a number of jobs while living in Hungary, only to find himself rejected once the employer found out about his Roma ethnicity. In his Basis of Claim form, the claimant described going to an employment centre in his home city of Miskolc to seek employment in January 2019. The claimant was told that there were no jobs available for Roma. I find on a balance of probability that the claimant has faced discrimination in employment as a result of his Roma ethnicity.

[10]     The claimant’s allegations are supported by country condition reports that outline discrimination in education and employment against members of the Roma community. While individual instances of discrimination do not necessarily constitute persecution, the effect of a cumulative pattern of discrimination in different contexts have been found by the Federal Court of Canada in a case called Ola (ph) v. Canada to constitute persecution, taking into account the individual effect on a claimant.

[11]     In the case of the claimant, the discrimination the claimant faces must be viewed in light of the violence that the claimant alleges he has suffered as a result of his Roma ethnicity. The claimant described a number of instances where he or his spouse personally suffered violence. These include an incident in March 2016, where the claimant and his wife were on the way to a movie when he was attacked by a group of men dressed in black clothes. The claimant testified that his assailants yelled anti-Roma slurs and told the claimant and his wife they did not belong in Hungary. The claimant described another incident in May 2019, when his pregnant wife was attacked by a group of men who knocked her to the ground, called her a “stinking gypsy”, and repeatedly kicked her. The claimant described a third incident that was the impetus for the claimant’s decision to leave Hungary. In December 2019, the claimant and his wife were attacked while shopping by a group of men armed with bats, chains, and knives. The claimant was stabbed in the hand defending himself. The claimant testified that his assailants yelled anti­ Roma slurs at himself.  At Exhibit 4, the claimant submitted documentary evidence of the medical attention needed and the specific injuries suffered during these attacks. I find on a balance of probabilities that the claimant has suffered multiple instances of violence on the basis of his Roma ethnicity. I find that the cumulative effect of the discrimination suffered, and the violence experienced by the claimant does constitute persecution. I find the claimant does have a fear of persecution if the claimant were to return to Hungary.

[12]     With respect to whether there is an objective basis for this fear, Item 13.5 of the National Documentation Package for Hungary, dated September 1st, 2020, supports the claimant’s allegation that Roma in Hungary are subject to widespread discrimination in the field of education and employment. Item 13.14 of the National Documentation Package notes that attacks against Roma and other minorities by far-right and neo-Nazi militias are on the increase in Hungary. I conclude that the claimant has an objective basis for his fear of persecution.

[13]     With respect to state protection, the claimant testified that he does not believe the police would be able to help him escape the threat of violence. The claimant testified he has reported each of the incidents he has described to the police, and none have resulted in any arrests. Item 13.6 of the National Documentation Package for Hungary supports the claimant’s allegation that the state cannot protect victims of assault directed against the Roma community. Although Hungary may have formal legal protection against hate­ motivated violence, Item 13.6 cites Amnesty International to conclude that Roma continue to be inadequately protected against hate crimes and that the police response to such crimes is generally not adequate. I conclude that the evidence in the National Documentation Package indicates that the claimant could not reasonably expect to receive state protection against persecution.

[14]     With respect to whether the claimant had an internal flight alternative within Hungary, the country condition reports mentioned above highlight the pervasiveness of anti-Roma racism throughout the country. I find that the claimant has no reasonable internal flight alternative within Hungary.

[15]     My conclusion is this: based on the evidence before me and the testimony of the claimant, I conclude that the claimant has established a serious possibility of persecution on the Convention ground of race 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.

[16]     That concludes my reasons. Sir, do you have any questions?

[17]     CLAIMANT: No, I don’t have – I don’t have questions

[18]     MEMBER: All right. I would like to thank you for answering all of my questions today. I know that answering some of them may have brought back difficult memories. I would like to thank your counsel for his representation of you today, and I would like to thank the interpreter for making sure we could all understand each other.

[19]     If there is nothing else, we can conclude the hearing.

[20]     COUNSEL: There’s nothing from us. Congratulations, Mr. XXXX.

[21]     Thank you, Laslo.

[22]     INTERPRETER: Thank you very much. Congratulations as well.

[23]     MEMBER: Thank you, everybody. Please stay safe and have a good rest of your evening.