Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers: Support for the Redress for Roma Refugee Coalition

February 28, 2017

The Honourable Ahmed Hussen
The Valour Building, Suite 770
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario

Dear Minister Hussen,

Re: Support for the Redress for Roma Refugee Coalition

The Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers (CARL) would like to express its support for you to take action for Roma refugee claimants who were represented by Viktor Hohots, Joseph Farkas and Elizabeth Jaszi.

The Law Society of Upper Canada found that these three lawyers engaged in professional misconduct. Their misconduct is not limited to the clients who came before the LSUC. Rather, it represents a widespread pattern. We are concerned that their clients were denied a fair chance at obtaining protection in Canada.

The former government's rhetoric that claims from Eastern Europe were bogus exacerbated this denial. The rhetoric played a significant role in two Federal Court cases where CARL was a public interest litigant: Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care v Canada (AG), 2014 FC 651 and Y.Z. v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2015 FC 892. When the Court found that the denial of health care and the lack of an appeal violated the Canadian Charier of Rights and Freedoms, it was concerned that portrayal of these claims as bogus perpetuated stereotypes and caused prejudice, contrary to section 15. Moreover, the removal of many of the three lawyers' clients were permitted only because the lack of an appeal meant that there was no statutory stay of removal, resulting in people returning Hungary to face further persecution.

Creating a public policy class for this group of people is in keeping with the Government’s commitment to human rights and would provide tangible relief from an injustice.

Thank you for considering this request.

Yours truly,

Mitchell J. Goldberg

President of the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers
Barrister and Solicitor
1980 Sherbrooke St. West, Suite 900
Montréal, Québec, H3H 1E8