Stop Deportation of Roma Family from Canada! Save Celina, Roksana and Camila
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Stop Deportation of Roma Family from Canada! Save Celina, Roksana and Camila 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: https://pm.gc.ca/en/news/statements/2019/06/20/statement-prime-minister-world-refugee-day
We wholeheartedly agree with this beautiful statement. So why is the Canadian government trying to deport my family to a country where, as Roma people, we 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, we have lived in Canada for 23 years with NO STATUS. Like many non-status people, we do not enjoy even the most basic of human rights, from access to education and employment opportunities to accessible health care.Ironically, Canada is trying to deport us to another country where, because we are Roma people, it will be impossible for us to attain status as well. Those without status face joblessness, homelessness, denial of medical care and social services, arbitrary imprisonment, and mistreatment behind bars.While our family (which includes two Canadian brothers) has done its best to survive, we are now forced to fight for our lives. This year in June, my father was deported and, shortly afterwards, my mother, Celina Urbanowicz, was issued a pre removal risk assessment. In October, my sister Camila Hajrizi and I were also issued a pre removal risk assessment .If we are deported, we face triple persecution. In the country where Canada wants to send us, the government and its police forces, like most in Europe, look the 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 ran away from a abusive man than married 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, we face a third level of discrimination based on my sexual orientation and my family members’ 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’).”
My sister and I face equal risks. Even Canada’s own Immigration and Refugee Board acknowledges the pervasive violence toward LGBTQ2+ individuals and their loved ones in the country to which we face deportation.Until these deportation orders began, my family still remained happy because, despite all our hardships, we have always been together. We have made Canada our home. We have integrated our entire lives here in Canada, We believe in our hearts that we are Canadian, and we want to continue to be Canadian. My family has fully accepted my sexual orientation and they love me without condition. It is very rare for a minority family to accept their LGBTQ2+ son or daughter even here in Canada.
Our family’s dreams are like all of your dreams.We want to watch out parents grow old with us right by their side. We want to have them with us as we make life-changing decisions. We want them to hold our hands as we walk down the aisle. We want them to hold their grandchildren.
We want to cherish every moment we can with them.We want to have them right in front of our eyes when they need us most.
They devoted their entire life raising us, taking care of us, being their for us when we needed them most. It is our turn to hold them, take care of them, to fight for them when they can’t fight for themselves anymore.My family is being torn apart one by one, separating us from one another. Our lives are at risk if we are to be deported.Please support our call – Roksana Hajrizi, Camila Hajrizi and Celina Urbanowicz – to be immediately landed as permanent residents to we can finally open the path to Canadian citizenship. We have never caused any harm to anyone, and only seek to get on with our lives with the same rights and responsibilities as anyone else who lives here. Please help spread the word and sign the petition to stop my family from being deported and separated.
Please join our Facebook pages at https://m.facebook.com/groups/473753919870022/?ref=group_header&view=group
This petition could possibly save our lives.
You can reach the Hon. MP Marco Mendincino at:
613-992-6361 416-781-5583 Marco.Mendicino@parl.gc.ca
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