Roma-Hungarian refugee families from Coquitlam, Burnaby and New Westminster gathered for a rally Tuesday outside of the federal immigration offices on Georgia Street in Vancouver.
“Roma people, Roma families have a big fear to go back to Hungary. Their life is in great danger there,” said Florian Botos, a Burnaby resident who helped organize the rally. The rally attracted mostly Roma refugee families who came to Canada from Hungary.
According to Botos, Roma people in Hungary face widespread discrimination and attacks from neo-Nazis, some of which have resulted in death.
“We heard that the government claimed that Hungarian-Roma refugees are bogus refugees,” Botos said.
“It’s not true. These people who are with me today, they own businesses, they come here (to Canada) - as refugees. Those are hardworking people, they came here, not to be on welfare, they came here for protection.”
This fall, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is expected to come up with a list of countries that are considered safe and don’t normally produce refugees.
Cases for refugee claimants from countries on this list will be heard faster, but those rejected will have no chance to appeal. The government’s move is an attempt to discourage people from so-called safe countries from abusing Canada’s refugee system.
“Refugee claimants from designated countries will continue to receive a fair hearing at the independent Immigration and Refugee Board but will do so under an expedited timeline, as is standard practice in many Western democracies,” said Alexis Pavlich, press secretary to the immigration minister. “Just as before, nationals of designated countries will continue to be able to make asylum claims, be able to attend an asylum hearing, and to be subject to the same principles of natural justice and due process.
“Canada has the most fair and generous refugee system in the world. We accept one in 10 of all resettled refugees, more than almost any other country. In fact, our government is increasing the number of resettled refugees Canada welcomes by 20 per cent a year.”
According to a Canadian Press report published in The Globe and Mail Tuesday, the federal government may consider detaining Roma refugee claimants if recent changes don’t curb their numbers.
The article was based on an internal Canada Border Services Agency report obtained through access to information laws.
“Other deterrent measures being examined include detention for mass arrivals of individuals seeking refugee protection,” the report stated.
According to the Globe, most of Canada’s refugee claimants in 2011 were from Hungary, and the majority of those are believed to be of Roma descent.
Nearly all of those 4,442 claims were rejected or abandoned, the Globe reported.
The NOW News