Stop Deportation of Roma Refugee Mother from Canada! Save Mama Celina

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Stop Deportation of Roma Refugee Mother from Canada! Save Mama Celina

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Marco Mendocino, and Public Safety Minister Bill Blair,

On World Refugee Day, June 20, 2019, Prime Minister Trudeau declared: “People flee home when they have no other choice. Those of us who are more fortunate share a responsibility to help them find refuge and build a new life. That’s why we’ll continue to come to the aid of the most vulnerable, to show openness, and to choose compassion – the foundation for a stronger Canada, and a better world.” (link:

We wholeheartedly agree with this beautiful statement.  

So why is the Canadian government trying to deport ourmother, Celina Urbanowicz, to a country where, as a Roma woman, she would face persecution, discrimination, violence, and the threat of death?

My family and I fled a war zone in Yugoslavia because we had no other choice, and we came to Canada as refugees in 1997. I was just 3 years old and my sister Camila was only 2 years old.

Because of paperwork problems, legal errors, and the all too frequent problems posed by Canada’s refugee and immigration system – in other words, things we had nothing to do with – we have lived in Canada for 23 years with NO STATUS.

Ironically, Canada is trying to deport our mother to another country where, because she is Roma, it will be impossible for her to attain status as well. Those without status face joblessness, homelessness, denial of medical care and social services, arbitrary imprisonment, and mistreatment behind bars.

If Mama Celina is deported, she faces triple persecution. In the country where Canada wants to send her, thegovernment and its police forces, like most in Europe, lookthe other way when Roma people are discriminated against, harassed, beaten up, and murdered. Oftentimes, they are directly complicit in such violence. In addition, because my mother divorced an abusive man to marry my father, a Muslim, she is now considered persona non grata by the Roma community in Europe. And because I am in an open and loving long-term relationship with a woman, she facesa third level of discrimination based on my sexual orientation and her loving support of me.

Amnesty International writes that a woman of my mother’s profile “would face multiple risks on account of their intersectional vulnerabilities stemming from their identity as a Roma woman, wife of a Muslim man, and as the mother of a lesbian woman.” An expert on Roma history and culture writes  "she will face severe discrimination, extreme persecution and be under imminent fear for her life because she has been condemned as gonime po trajo(‘shunned or life’).”

Mama Celina has devoted her entire life raising us, taking care of us, being there for us when we needed her most. It is our turn to hold her, take care of her, to fight for her.

My family is being torn apart one by one, separating us from one another.

Please support our call for Celina Urbanowicz to be immediately landed as a permanent resident so she can finally open the path to Canadian citizenship. She has never caused any harm to anyone, and only seeks to get on with her life with the same rights and responsibilities as anyone else who lives here.

We also know there are thousands of others who, through no fault of their own, live lives of peril similar to ours. They should have the same right to permanent resident status and a path to citizenship too.

Please help spread the word and sign the petition to stop Mama Celina from being deported.

Please join for Facebook pages “JUSTICE FOR CELINA “ “ WE BELONG THIS IS OUR HOME “

Thank you 

Roksana Hajrizi