Roma rally to oppose Bill-C31

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 26th of April 2012   Source: RomNet

This article is archive

TORONTO - The Roma Community Centre and the United Roma of Hamilton are partnering for an event "Rally for Roma, not Bill C-31" to inspire hope among Roma and other refugees in Canada, and to advocate for freedom from persecution.


The rally is to show of solidarity with Roma community leaders who will testify at the Parliamentary Committee on Citizenship and Immigration on Thursday, May 3rd to oppose Bill C-31. It will also highlight the persecution of Roma by neo-fascists in Europe and the failure of the Harper government to recognize this.

"Roma persecution in Hungary and elsewhere is staring our government in the face," says Gina Csanyi, executive director of the Roma Community Centre. "Minister Kenney knows it, the Conservatives know it. Bill C-31 will condone systemic violation of the human rights of Hungarian Roma." Ms. Csanyi and attorney Maureen Silcoff will be in Ottawa to voice the Roma community's objections to Bill C-31.

The 'Safe Country' list included in the legislation targets Hungary and Mexico as being countries that do not produce legitimate refugees. "This isn't just about the Roma," says Csanyi, "this is about our commitment to humanitarian principles and to refugees. During the Holocaust, countless Jews were turned away from Canada and sent back to Nazi Germany. We don't want that stain on our history to repeat itself."

"Turning a blind eye on persecution," says Silcoff, "is not a road Canadians want our country to go down. We urge our government to reconsider the Safe Country Designation in this Bill."

Bill C-31, which the Conservatives intend on passing by the end of May, will mean the end of fair asylum claims for Roma and Mexican refugees. "We want to send a message to our leaders, says Csanyi. "Canada, don't abandon the Roma in countries where they are persecuted. Neo-fascists are targeting the Roma in European countries. There have been killings in many EU countries, including  Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Germany, and Italy. Democratic EU countries have not been successful in eliminating the widespread hate crimes targeting the Roma of Europe. Hate is the disease that continues to fester, and is emerging more and more each day in organized political parties and their paramilitary armies with thousands of members, in countries that Roma continue to flee. Let's not abandon them. "

In response to Minister Kenny's insistence that Roma refugee claims are bogus, Csanyi explains, "When people who have lived their entire existences pushed to the margins of society - come to Canada believing that they are arriving in a mecca for human rights - then find that they are not able to navigate a complex refugee system with many barriers, in a totally new and different society where they cannot speak the language or find a bed in a shelter, decide to give up and withdraw their claims - it does not make them BOGUS refugees. It is a TRAGEDY".


Gina Csanyi - Robah, Executive Director, Roma Community Centre
(416) 561-0770 or ginacsanyi@gmail.com
website: <http://romatoronto.org>

Find attached the February 2012 Council of Europe Publication by United Nations Commissioner of Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, Human Rights of Roma and Travelers in Europe.
Links documenting human right abuses of Roma within the EU:

Council of Europe - Commissioner for Human Rights

Amnesty International slams official report

Amnesty International call to investigate racial motivation in attacks

FBI assists Hungarian police in investigation of series of Roma murders

Transcript captures Jobbik party talk of starting civil war

Rabble.ca - Hill Dispatches - 'Never again!' (except for the 'Gypsies')


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