Romanipe in collaboration with The ERGO Network Call the Canadian Government to Lift Visa Require”ments on Romania and Bulgaria

On Friday May 19, 2016 European Parliament President, Martin Schulz announced that the Canadian government’s continued insistence on imposing visa requirements for travelers from Romania and Bulgaria has put a strain on the ratification of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

Current disagreements regarding the ratification of CETA are reminiscent of the pressures which stalled the agree- ment under the previous government and eventually led to several legislative and policy measures aiming to restrict the acceptance of Roma claimants.

One such policy was Bill C-31. Among other provisions, the Bill allows the Minister responsible to unilaterally des- ignate countries as “safe countries of origin.” Refugee claimants from these countries are subjected to a discrimina- tory judicial process for their claims. Countries where Roma come from were specifically cited as “safe.”

In spite of the high level of documentation of these cases by credible organizations such as Amnesty International and the European Commission, previous and current Canadian immigration policies continue to treat Roma as a European ethnic group which is not persecuted.

Despite increasing acceptance numbers, cases of racial profiling continue against Roma by Canadian authorities. In 2015, twelve Hungarian Roma with valid travel documents were prevented from boarding flights to Canada on the alleged ground of not possessing proper documentation to enter the country due to their Roma ethnicity. In 2014, John Manley, head of the influential Canadian Council of Chief Executives, said “more needs to be done at Euro- pean airports to block bogus refugee claimants from actually boarding flights for Canada. We can’t lift the visa until we find other ways to avoid this influx of refugee claimants.”

By insisting on imposing visa requirements on countries such as Bulgaria, as well as maintaining the implementation of Bill C-31, the Trudeau government is continuing the legacy of the previous government by closing its borders to Roma suffering from discrimination and oppression.

Today, we are hopeful that our current government will uphold its promise to bring Canada back to its humanitarian roots by recognizing Roma as an essential component of Canadian multiculturalism and end racial profiling and dis- crimination of Roma asylum seekers.

Romanipe takes this opportunity to reiterate our request to the Canadian government to recognize the current dis- crimination faced by Roma populations in Europe and end the discriminatory legislative and policy measures re- stricting the acceptance of Roma claimants introduced by the previous government. Romanipe therefore calls on the Canadian government to lift the visa requirements imposed on Bulgaria and Romania, and requests national gov- ernments in the EU to take concrete measures to eradicate anti-Roma persecution.

ERGO Network brings together 28 members from across Europe and supports organisations with a common per- spective on Roma grassroots empowerment and equal citizenship, and to challenge stereotypes and combat stigmati- zation


Romanipe dénonce les attaques racistes contre les Roms en Bulgarie et en Croatie


Romanipe dénonce fortement les deux attaques récentes envers les minorités ethniques roms en Croatie et en Bulgarie. La semaine dernière, un jeune Romani s’est fait battre parce qu’il s’était déclaré égal à un homme non rom qui l’avait menacé. Hier, une maternelle pour enfants roms, au sein d’une communauté rom à Zagreb, a été victime d’un attentat à la bombe.

Malheureusement, ces deux événements ne sont pas des cas isolés. Ils reflètent plutôt le racisme continu auquel doivent faire face les communautés roms chaque jour, et ce, partout en Europe. Romanipe souhaite aujourd’hui exprimer son inquiétude envers ces attaques racistes qui continuent de se produire en dépit des mesures nationales et internationales qui ont été récemment adoptées par les états membres de l’UE pour contrer les mouvements anti-roms.

Nous nous attendons à ce que les autorités concernées enquêtent rapidement et efficacement sur ces attaques contre les Roms en exposant, notamment, leurs motifs apparemment discriminatoires et en posant des actions concrètes pour s’assurer que de tels événements ne se répètent pas à l’avenir.

La montée des mouvements extrémistes qui promeuvent une rhétorique anti-rom a forcé plusieurs Roms à chercher refuge au Canada pour être épargnés des violences en Europe. Malheureusement, même au Canada, les Roms n’ont pas été capables d’échapper à la discrimination. Sous l’ancien gouvernement, les Roms étaient qualifiés de « faux réfugiés » ne méritant pas la protection du Canada. L’adoption de plusieurs mesures législatives et de politiques visant à restreindre les critères d’acceptation des demandeurs roms au pays en a résulté.

Nous souhaitons, par le fait même, répéter notre demande au gouvernement canadien pour qu’il reconnaisse enfin la discrimination à laquelle font face les populations roms à l’heure actuelle en Europe. Nous demandons aux gouvernements européens de prendre les moyens concrets pour mettre fin à la persécution des Roms. Nous demandons également au gouvernement canadien de mettre fin au concept de « pays d’origine désigné » dans le processus d’immigration.

En conclusion, nous demandons à la communauté internationale de même qu’aux partis concernés d’instaurer les mesures nécessaires pour combattre la discrimination envers les Roms et de continuer à rallier l’attention internationale à leur cause.


Romanipe Condems Racist Attacks In Bulgaria and Croatia April 2016


Romanipe strongly condemns the two recent attacks on Roma ethnic minorities in Croatia and Bulgaria. Last week in Bulgaria a young Romani man was beaten because he declared himself equal to a non-Roma man who threatened him. Yesterday, a kindergarten for Roma children on the premises of a Roma community in Zagreb was the victim of a bomb attack.

Unfortunately, these events are not isolated ; rather, they reflect the ongoing racism experienced by Roma communities on a daily basis throughout Europe.  Romanipe  would like to express its concern over the occurrence of these racially motivated attacks, which continue to occur despite national and international measures adopted by EU member states to counter antigypsyism.

We expect respective authorities  to effectively and promptly investigate these attacks against Roma namely by examining any alleged discriminatory motives that may have prompted them, and by taking concrete steps to ensure that such events are not repeated in the future.

The rise of extremist movements promoting Anti-Roma rhetoric have caused many Roma to seek refuge in Canada in order to avoid the violence lived in Europe.  Unfortunately, even in Canada, Roma have not been able to escape discrimination. Under the previous government, Roma were depicted as “bogus refugees” underserving of protection in Canada, resulting in the adoption of several legislative and policy measures aiming to restrict the acceptance of Roma claimants in the country.

We therefore take this opportunity to reiterate our request to the Canadian government to recognize the current discrimination faced by Roma populations in Europe and to call on national governments in the EU to take concrete measures to eradicate anti-Roma persecution. Secondly, we call upon the Canadian government to eliminate the Designated Countries of Origin regime in the refugee determination system.

Finally, we ask the international community and relevant stakeholders to implement the measures necessary for combatting anti-gypsism and discrimination against Roma, and to continue to bring international attention to their plight.