All Countries Hungary

2021 RLLR 89

Citation: 2021 RLLR 89
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: May 13, 2021
Panel: Gregory Israelstam
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Adam Wawrzkiewicz
Country: Hungary
RPD Number: TC0-03571
Associated RPD Number(s): N/A
ATIP Number: A-2022-01778
ATIP Pages: N/A


[1]       MEMBER: These are my reasons. XXXX XXXX XXXX the claimant, seeks protection pursuant to s. 96 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Mr. XXXX came to Canada with his spouse, XXXX (ph) XXXX, on XXXX XXXX XXXX 2019. XXXX XXXX was found ineligible to have the claim heard by the Refugee Protection Division because she had made a prior claim for protection in 2001.

[2]       The allegations of the claim can be found in the claimant’s Basis of Claim form, and in his testimony. The claimant alleges a fear of persecution on the basis of race and membership in a particular social group at the hands of society in general, and from the former spouse of XXXX XXXX in particular.

[3]       The claimant alleges that should be return to Hungary, he would be subject to persecution in the form of denial of occupational opportunities on the basis of his Roma ethnicity. He would also be subject to persecution by being at increased risk of violence at the hands of nationalist gangs, of being at increased risk of harassment by police, and finally of being at increased risk of violence at the hands of XXXX former spouse.

[4]       At the outset of the hearing, I identified credibility of a major issue for the hearing to focus on. A second issue is whether there was clear and convincing evidence that the state was unable or unwilling to protect the claimant.

[5]       With respect to identity, on file at Exhibit 1 is a certified copy of the claimant’s passport. Other identification documents from Hungary can be found at Exhibit 4. In addition, the claimant has submitted a statement form the Roma Community Centre in Toronto, identifying the claimant as a member of the Roma community. For these documents and his testimony, the claimant has established his personal identity, his citizenship of Hungary, and his Roma ethnicity.

[6]       With respect to credibility. The claimant testified at the hearing, as did his spouse, XXXX XXXX. A claimant testifying under oath is presumed to be telling the truth unless there are valid reasons to disbelieve that testimony. In this case, I find no valid reason to reject the claimant’s testimony. My assessment of credibility takes into account the claimant’s level of education, as well as other social and cultural factors that may affect his testimony. I have also taken into account situational factors such as the stress of refugee proceedings and the difficulties of communication through an interpreter.

[7]       The claimant was straightforward in his testimony. There were no material inconsistencies or contradictions in his testimony, and the testimony was consistent with both his Basis of Claim form, and the testimony of the witness, XXXX XXXX. The claimant submitted documentation at Exhibit 4 that corroborates elements of his allegations related to the violence that the claimant has suffered at the hands of XXXX ex-spouse. The claimant testified that he has been denied educate — excuse me, employment opportunities because of his Roma ethnicity. He testified that his membership in the Roma community has made it difficult for him to get work, and he recounted and incident where Roma workers where refused payment for the work they had completed. When they complained to the employer, the employer taunted them saying that if they were unhappy, they should go to the police, because the police would not believe them, as they were Roma.

[8]       The claimant testified that he has suffered violence and harassment at the hands of police. He testified that in 2010, while trying to get medical help for his ill sister, the police stopped him, accused him of coming to town to steal, hit him, and made him leave town. The claimant testified that the police used anti-Roma racial epithets during that incident. The claimant testified that another incident of police harassment occurred in 2006. The police accosted the claimant and his spouse XXXX, accusing XXXX of being a prostitute and making anti-Roma comments. The claimant testified that in 2011, he was attacked by a nationalist gang on a streetcar. He was physically assaulted, and subject to anti Roma abuse and epithets before the gang forced him off the streetcar. The claimant testified that he did not feel that going to the police about this incident would be productive. His experience with the police had been negative to that day. The claimant testified that his fear of violence at the hands of right-wing extremists has become more acute after this incident, as such violence is now encouraged by politicians and police tend to turn a blind eye towards violence against the Roma community.

[9]       The claimant testified that XXXX former spouse attacked the claimant and XXXX in their home in 2016, injuring both of them with a broken beer bottle. Both the claimant and XXXX XXXX testified that they went to the police, but the police had told them that because they had chosen the Roma lifestyle, the police would not do anything to assist them. The claimant and XXXX XXXX testified that XXXX former spouse approached them again in 2019, while the claimant and XXXX were living at a shelter. XXXX former spouse threatened to kill them. The claimant and XXXX testified that the police again were reluctant to take a report or intervene, and that they were asked to leave the shelter as a result of this incident. The claimant testified that this incident was the impetus for his decision to flee Hungary and make a claim for protection in Canada.

[10]     The claimant submitted police record from XXXX XXXX time in Canada, showing that she had been the complainant in a member of incidents that resulted in charges against her former spouse. As noted, I find the claimant to be overall credible and his documentary evidence to support his allegations. I find on a balance of probabilities that the claimant has suffered assault and harassment, both at the hands of police, and at the hands of right wring, nationalist gangs. I find on a balance of probabilities that the claimant has been attacked and threated by XXXX former spouse. Finally, I find on a balance of probabilities that the claimant has approached the police for protection against these attacks and threats, but that the police did not offer assistance or protection. I find that the claimant does fear future persecution based on his race, his Roma ethnicity, as well as his membership in a particular social group being the family member of a person subject to domestic violence.

[11]     Having found the claimant has a subjective fear of persecution, turn to the question of whether this fear has an objective basis. Items 13.5 and 13.6 of the national documentation package for Hungary, dated April 16th, 2021, support the claimant’s allegation that Roma in Hungary are subject to widespread discrimination in the field of employment, these Items also note that the Roma community is increasingly becoming victim to right wing nationalist violence in Hungary. Item 5.2 of the national documentation package for Hungary notes that Roma women are at increased risk of being subjected to gender-based domestic violence and have considerably fewer resources at their disposal to escape violence. This risk of violence is exacerbated by the poverty of many in the Roma community, as well as police reluctance to be responsive to complaints of domestic violence against Roma.

[12]     I conclude that the claimants do have an objective basis for their fear of persecution, and that their fear is well-founded.

[13]     With respect to state protection, the claimant testified that he does not believe that the police would be able to help him escape threats of violence from either gangs or from XXXX XXXX former husband. Again, Items 13.5 and 13.6 of the national documentation package for Hungary support the claimant’s testimony. Police will often take complaints against violence against Roma less seriously and not investigate violence against Roma complaints. These items in the national documentation package also note that anti Roma racism is pervasive throughout Hungarian society and is on the increase. This racism exists at the level of both the government and the police. While former protection against discrimination and violence are legislated, the reality is that the Roma community is substantially excluded from participating in many areas of Hungarian society and faces increasing levels of violence. I conclude that there is clear and convincing that the state is unable or unwilling to protect the claimant against persecution.

[14]     With respect to whether the claimant has an internal flight alternative, given the pervasiveness of anti-Roma racism in Hungary, I find that there is no reasonable internal flight alternative within Hungary, particularly with respect to the claimant’s persecution on the basis of race.

[15]     Here is my conclusion. Based on the evidence before me, the testimony of the claimant, and the testimony of XXXX XXXX, I conclude that the claimant has established a serious possibility of persecution on the Convention grounds of race and membership in a particular social group if he were to return to Hungary. And I am going to ask the interpreter to please interpret the next two sentences. 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]     CLAIMANT: Thank you very much.

[17]     MEMBER: Do you have any questions, sir?

[18]     CLAIMANT: They will send my wife back home?

[19]     MEMBER: That’s something you should probably talk about with your counsel.

[20]     CLAIMANT: Thank you.

[21]     UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Thank you very much, thank you, thank you.

[22]     MEMBER: I’d like to thank you for answering all of my questions today. I know that it isn’t pleasant to remember some of the incidents you’ve talked about.

[23]     CLAIMANT: I thank you that you listened to me.

[24]     MEMBER: I’d like to thank Erin for being a witness in your claim. And I would like to express my appreciation to your counsel for representing you today, and finally to Madam Interpreter who made sure we could all understand each other.

[25]     INTERPRETER: Thank you, and hearing each other at some point, I’m really sorry about.

[26]     MEMBER: All right, so if that’s — unless there’s anything else, we can conclude the hearing.

[27]     INTERPRETER: Thank you very much, wishing you a good day, rest up a bit.

[28]     MEMBER: Before we do that, I just want to confirm that I have your address correction, because we will be mailing out the decision to you. The address I have is XXXX XXXX XXXX.

[29]     CLAIMANT: Yes.

[30]     MEMBER: And the postal code is XXXX XXXX XXXX

[31]     CLAIMANT: Yes.

[32]     MEMBER: Excellent. All right, so that’s everything, thank you again, please have a good rest of your day and stay safe.

[33]     INTERPRETER: Thank you very much.

[34]     MEMBER: Goodbye everybody.

[35]     INTERPRETER: Goodbye everyone.

——————–REASONS CONCLUDED ——————–