All Countries Romania

2021 RLLR 88

Citation: 2021 RLLR 88
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: August 17, 2021
Panel: Andrew M Rozdilsky
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Peter G Ivanyi
Country: Romania
RPD Number: TC0-02861
Associated RPD Number(s): TC0-02862
ATIP Number: A-2022-01778
ATIP Pages: N/A



[1]       The claimant, XXXX XXXX, and the female claimant, XXXX XXXX XXXX claim refugee protection pursuant to sections 96 and 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA).[i]


[2]       The claimants detailed allegations are set out in their Basis of Claim forms. In summary, the claimants allege persecution by the Romania society and police because of their Roma ethnicity. The claimants have suffered numerous forms of discrimination throughout their lives up until they left Romania, including their very limited education, the claimant having Grade 3 and the female claimant Grade 2, and in employment. The claimants have three children who remain in Romania fearing that they would not to be allowed to travel and enter Canada. The claimants claim to be Corbeni Roma and that they faced not only discrimination but also abuse by racist Romanians and police, the claimant alleging that he lived in fear every day, Romanians could beat him or members of his family because of their ethnicity. The female claimant alleged that Roma women face a difficult life and do not have rights such as other Romanian citizens, that there is no protection, medical insurance, that they pay fees to be treated at clinics and bribe doctors and nurses for treatment. It is difficult to find jobs, Romanians are not hiring Roma and they are not educated. The claimants have no chance to be accepted in Romanian society and because of their ethnicity face verbal and physical abuse by racist people, and police curse and threaten them. They are thrown out of stores, restaurants and pools, face humiliation from security, and face racist slurs, beatings, abuse, harassment and are thrown from buses.

[3]       In more detailed allegations the claimant alleged that he stopped schooling after three years as his parents, fearing the assaults and humiliation he faced by schoolmates and being forced to sit at the back. The female claimant stopped after Grade 2, having been beaten at school, abused, and humiliated by classmates.

[4]       The claimant alleged that they are afforded no protection by Romanian authorities, they face verbal and physical abuse, sexual touching, security harassment and being accused of theft.

[5]       Police provide no protection and abuse or instigate violence against Roma, and there are incidents where Roma houses are burnt. There is no protection for Roma students who are abused by teachers and ignore them in class.

[6]       The claimant alleged that in 2012, the claimants were at a local bazar in Bragadiru, were stopped by police and accused of stealing chickens and cheese they bought but made no complaint out of fear.

[7]       The claimant alleged that in 2017, he and the female claimant were travelling on a bus and were harassed and humiliated by Romanians, called dirty Gypsies and that they smell, his wife being reduced to tears. They were defended by some on the bus and got off at the first opportunity and ran away.

[8]       In 2018, the claimant was at City Hall in Cornetu and asked for a small lot to build a house for his family but was rejected because he is Roma and had no money to pay as a bribe as other Roma did. No complaint was made against the mayor, fearing revenge.

[9]       In 2018, the claimant’s uncle was hit by a drunk driver and killed and was verbally abused after being struck. The driver was never arrested and bribed local police despite having threatened to kill other Roma.

[10]     In 2019, the claimant alleged that a Roma woman with two children was beaten badly in Zalau by a Romanian driver. Police were called and were rude to her because she was a ‘gypsy’.

[11]     The claimant alleged that doctors charge Roma patients, ask for extra money besides fees and demand bribes, refusing to provide care if they are not paid. They have no medical insurance as they have no permanent jobs and cannot afford fees for insurance. There is no protection against racism and discrimination and there are no jobs in Romanian companies because they are uneducated, and they can only get work street cleaning or cleaning rich people’s homes and are paid half what Romanians are paid. They do not have the same rights as Romanians. They live in squalid living conditions without water and heating, gas, garbage disposal, have no social assistance or medical insurance. They are not hired because Romanians say they stink. They left Romania out of fear for their lives, and the lives of their family and want a better life for their children who are not safe and do not have the same rights as Romanians, live in poor living conditions, no hot water, and an overcrowded small house with no heat so they use firewood. Many Romanian authorities are racist, they are not allowed to enter stores, restaurants, public places and are beaten. The claimant does not want his children to be discriminated against and face persecution as Roma. The claimants left Romania on XXXX XXXX, 2019.

[12]     The female claimant alleged that Roma in Bolintin were expelled from the village they lived in for 45 years after a Romanian was killed in a conflict with a Roma and that 26 Roma houses were burnt, for which no one was arrested or punished, and no compensation was paid until after an international court judgement after 2009. The female claimant’s house was burnt down in 1991, they were thrown out of the village and never returned under threat of being killed.

[13]     In 1994, the female claimant’s paternal aunt went to her father’s village after being on the street for three years after losing her home. Local villagers demanded that relatives of local residents leave, claiming that they were criminals from Bolintin, and threatened to burn down the female claimant’s aunt’s father’s family home.  Police told the female claimant’s family to do as they were told.

[14]     The female claimant alleged her aunt’s husband was shot in 2000 and died of his injuries three days later. In 2011, her father was called by police to the police station, beaten and questioned regarding a fictitious offence but never made a complaint as he was beaten by police.

[15]     In 2002, the female claimant’s mother and father were assaulted by Romanian peasants and beaten, being accused of wanting to steal.

[16]     In 2011, the female claimant’s father’s cousin was ran over intentionally by a Romanian who previously had threatened to kill all Roma. The family complained with the case ongoing, but the killer remains free.

[17]     In 2013, the female claimant’s grandfather died of natural causes, but the priest refused bury him in the local cemetery.

[18]     The female claimant’s brother was found to be a Convention refugee in Canada.


[19]     The panel finds that there is a serious possibility that the claimants will face persecution because of their ethnicity as Roma if they were to return to Romania and are, therefore, Convention refugees pursuant to section 96 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

[20]     In making this determination, the panel has considered the counsel’s post hearing writing submissions, claimants’ testimony, and documentary evidence.


[21]     The claimants’ personal identity as a citizen of Romania has been established, on a balance of probabilities, by their testimony, the claimants’ passports, and Romania ID cards.[ii]


[22]     The panel finds that the claimants fear persecution for reasons of their Roma ethnicity and have established that their fear of persecution is for a Convention reason, namely their ethnicity as Roma and accordingly their claims were assessed under section 96.


[23]     The panel finds the claimants to be credible witnesses. They provided credible evidence establishing their Roma ethnicity. Further, they provided evidence from the Roma community in Canada corroborating their claims to be Roma. The claimants provided supporting letters from Roma Community Centre[iii] in Canada, and photos of their family[iv] in Romania. They gave evidence in relation to them being Corbeni Roma and in addition provided reliable and trustworthy documentation establishing their Roma ethnicity. The claimants gave their evidence regarding their Roma ethnicity in a straightforward and forthright manner. Further, they described the photographs showing their living situation in Romania and their children. The panel found overall that there were no inconsistencies in the claimants’ testimony. The panel found the claimants’ testimony to be credible and the documents in support of their allegations to be reliable and trustworthy.

[24]     The claimant further gave consistent testimony with their BOC narratives regarding their personal experiences in Romania prior to their departure. The panel finds the claimants’ evidence regarding their experiences in Romanian to be credible.

Objective Basis

[25]     In the Ward judgement, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that for treatment to amount to persecution, it must be a, “sustained or systemic violation of basic human rights, demonstrative of a failure of state protection.”[v]

[26]     The panel finds the claimant’s own evidence regarding their personal experiences as Roma in Romania and the objective documentary evidence[vi] regarding the situation of Roma in Romania supports a finding that the claimants fear of persecution were they to return to Romania is well-founded and that they face a serious possibility of persecution because their ethnicity as Roma.

[27]     The NDP item 2.1 reports:

[T]here were reports from nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and media that police and gendarmes mistreated and abused Roma, primarily with excessive force, including beatings. Amnesty International, the European Roma Rights Center, the Romani Center for Social Intervention and Studies (CRISS), and the Civic Union of Young Roma from Romania reported several instances of police abuse against Roma, in the context of enforcing movement restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 crisis.

E-Romnja, an NGO that works to advance the rights of Romani women, stated police often discouraged Romani women and girls from filing complaints.[vii]

[28]     An RIR at NDP item 13.4 reports:

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 the areas of education, housing, health, and employment.

“negative attitudes and stereotypes about Roma are deep-rooted, resilient and prevalent…” The same source indicates that “pervasive racism and racist violence continue to distance many Roma families and groups from the greater society.”

Country Reports 2014 indicates that although the law forbids discrimination based on ethnicity, the government did not effectively enforce these prohibitions and Roma “often experienced discrimination and violence.”[viii]

[29]     The NDP item 13.5 reports:

In Romania, in 2014 it was argued that “Anti-Roma rhetoric emerges from politicians across all three major political parties – the left, the right and the Liberals”,160 including through statements made during TV interviews and online.[ix]

[30]     The NDP item 13.5 reports:

Negative attitudes and behaviours towards the Roma population and its labour market participation are constantly encountered in the public sphere. According to the FRA report from 2018, Roma from Romania felt more discriminated against (in 2016 than in 2011) due to being Roma when looking for a job and at work in the past five years.[x]

[31]     A careful review of objective documentary evidence corroborates the claimants’ evidence of ongoing and systemic discrimination suffered in education, access to healthcare, and threats to their life, amounting to persecution. Therefore, the claimants fear to return to Romania as an ethnic Roma is objectively well-founded.

State Protection

[32]     The police have been regularly charged for applying double standards in their investigation for crimes involving Roma individuals. Some cases of genuine contempt have been reported where police officers clearly suggested that attacks on Roma were their own fault. Roma are also discouraged by police officers from filing criminal reports.

[33]     The claimants related their own experiences in relation to the experiences of them and their families in seeking state protection credibly at the hearing and in their BOC narratives.

[34]     Taking all of these factors into account, including the objective evidence together, the panel finds that there is clear and convincing evidence on a balance of probabilities that adequate state protection is not reasonably forthcoming to the claimants in Romania.

Internal Flight Alternative (IFA)

[35]     The panel have also considered whether there is a viable internal flight alternative exists for the claimants. The documentary evidence above shows that anti-Roma sentiments are prevalent throughout Romania. The panel finds that there is a serious possibility of persecution throughout Romania. The panel finds that there is no viable internal flight alternative is available to them because of their Roma ethnicity and in the particular circumstances of these claimants.


[36]     For the foregoing reasons, in the particular circumstance of these claims, the panel finds that the claimants have established a serious possibility that they will face persecution because of their ethnicity as Roma if they were to return to Romania and are, therefore, Convention refugees pursuant to section 96 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

[i] The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), S.C. 2001, c.27, as amended, sections 96 and 97(1).

[ii] Exhibit 1, Claim Referral Information from CBSA/IRCC.

[iii] Exhibit 7, Disclosure personal-counsel – January 21, 2021.

[iv] Exhibit 9, Disclosure personal-counsel January 26, 2021.

[v] Canada (Attorney General) v. Ward, [1993] 2 S.C.R. 689, 103 D.L.R. (4th) 1, 20 Imm. L.R. (2d) 85.

[vi] Exhibit 3, Index of National Documentation Package for Romania – April 16, 2021 Version.

[vii] Ibid., item 2.1

[viii] Ibid., item 13.4.

[ix] Ibid., item 13.5.

[x] Ibid.