July 22, Niagara Falls: Stop Forced Removal of Roma Refugee, Rides From Toronto available

Stop the Forced Removal of Roma Refugee Adolf Horvath to Hungary! Son of Holocaust Survivor Faces Grave Risk if Sent to Country Where Anti-Roma Violence Continues to Grow

Vigil at Justice Minister Rob Nicholson’s Niagara Falls Office
Tuesday, July 22, 12 Noon
2895 St. Paul Avenue, Unit 11
Niagara Falls, Ontario

Take QEW to Mountain Road exit, head towards Niagara Falls, turn right on St. Paul St.
Lost? Call Rob’s office at 905-353-9590

Coming from Toronto and want a ride or can drive folks down? Shoot us an email at tasc@web.ca or call (416) 651-5800

Can’t make it? Call Nicholson’s office and politely support the request of Erika Horvath for a meeting with the Justice Minister.

BACKGROUND

Adolf Horvath is a 51-year old father who fled repeated physical assaults and persecution in Hungary based on his Roma ethnicity. During World War II, his mother had been imprisoned in a Nazi slave labour camp because of her Roma ethnicity. Horvath’s wife, Erika, also experienced physical assaults in Hungary at the hands of the same skinheads and police officials who beat Adolf.

The family came to Canada in 1999. Mr. Horvath was found to be a person in need of protection, and his wife and son were found to be refugees. They were trying to begin a new life in this country when the latest chapter in their nightmare began, an extradition request from a vindictive group of Hungarian authorities laying charges based on two false confessions that were recanted in court over ten years ago.

The couple’s young son experienced severe trauma in witnessing the vicious assaults against his parents. He was present in his own home when Adolf was repeatedly stabbed in the stomach and his mother was hit in the head, forcing both parents’ hospitalization. A psychological assessment says their son suffers “emotionally and psychologically from the aftermath of living in an environment of horror and terror.” Given the ongoing fear he experiences that his father may be returned to Hungary, his life is marked by an ongoing sense of terror. Ongoing efforts to treat his post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are threatened by the instability in his life.

All members of the family have been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and depression, conditions which have only worsened as a result of the Canadian efforts to send Mr. Horvath back to Hungary. Indeed, when a half dozen Canadian officers showed up at the house to arrest Mr. Horvath on the extradition request, it revived painful memories of attacks against the family in Hungary.

Amnesty International reported in October, 2007 on anti-Roma discrimination in Europe and concluded: “Roma were often the victims of torture or other ill-treatment by law enforcement officers across the
region. Roma were also the victims of racist attacks during which they were not adequately protected by the police. The authorities in many countries failed to fulfil their domestic and international obligations towards the Roma community.”

To hear an interview with Mr. Horvath, his wife Erika and their son Adam, go to the Current,
http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/2008/200807/20080708.html

The only person on the show defending the forced removal, James Bissett, is unfortunately completely out of touch and unfamiliar with the case, and he bluffs and lies his way through. So when he says, for example, that Canada was the only country to accept Roma refugees, he is wrong. When he says that Mr. Horvath withheld information from the officer who found him to be in need of protection, he is again flat out wrong. When he says there is no proof that the complainants against Mr.Horvath have recanted, he is perhaps uninformed that court transcripts of those recantations are freely available. And when he says that Hungary is a “democracy” and that there are groups that one can appeal to in Hungary if one’s rights are violated, he completely misses the point: if one is under threat, one might never survive to make the kind of complaint such agencies deal with. Ultimately, he fails to answer the most pressing question: what does it mean to have Canada find you a person in need of protection if Canada will not protect you from being sent back to the country you fled in the first place?

More info: Toronto Action for Social Change, (416) 651-5800
Background:
http://tasc_brby8.posterous.com/backgrounder-on-adolf-horvaths

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