Money Behind Czech Romanies’ Exodus To Canada

Money behind Czech Romanies' exodus to Canada – expert
published: 08.07.2009, 18:57
updated: 08.07.2009 19:00:07

Odbornk: Za migrac Rom do Kanady jsou ur it profesn zjmy

Prague – The migration of Czech Romanies to Canada where they seek asylum is accompanied with a client system in which some former citizens of the Czech Republic and Slovakia have a “professional and financial interest,” sociologist Roman Kristof, former director of the Government Council for Romany Affairs, said in a report passed to CTK today.

Due to the rising number of Czech applicants, Canada is considering reimposing the visa requirements cancelled in 2007.

The report directly mentions Karolina Banomova, a former student of Romany studies at Charles University in Prague, and Paul St. Clair, head of the Romany Community Centre in Toronto, as “prospectors” of the asylum migration.

Banomova was granted asylum in Canada in 1997.

“Using an informal information network, they let those interested in asylum migration know about the timing for arrival in Canada and for submitting the refugee status request. Banomova determines the timing, using the information from Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) members. She enjoys their trust and respect,” Kristof writes.

Banomova has dismissed Kristof's allegation in an interview for the paper Lidove noviny.

She said this was an accusation without evidence on the basis of an “insane theory.”

“The times in which we, Romanies, had to tolerate anything are over. Mr Kristof, if you do not apologise, we will turn to courts,” Banomova said.

Kristof said St.Clair worked as an “independent source of information” for the IRB on the position of Romanies in the Czech Republic and he also represented Romany applicants for asylum in the proceedings.

He said the IRB contributed with several thousands of Canadian dollars to the representation of refugee claimants.

Kristof denotes Banomova and St.Clair as “prospectors” in the report.

“Being a prospector is a sort of job based on mediation that need not collide with the laws of a specific country. In this case, it does not. A prospector is a term from social sciences and migration studies. It is nothing derogatory,” Kristof told CTK.

According to his study, the prospectors are linked with the IRB that decides on the granting of asylum and have access to the information on the number of asylum seekers and quotas for individual countries.

“The IRB has one-sided and biased information on the situation of Romanies in the Czech Republic due to the workers of the human rights industry who are to a large extent identical with the prospectors,” Kristof writes in the report published last autumn.

The IRB conducted a survey in its own right in the Czech Republic in March.

Based upon its conclusions, Canadian Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney said Romanies in the Czech Republic faced problems but were not discriminated against by the state.

Kristof's report also said asylum seekers from the Czech Republic ask for Czech alternative travel documents in order to prepare loan frauds.

Before the current Czech migration wave, Romany asylum seekers from Hungary were the main source of income for some protagonists of the migration industry, it added.

The decision to embark on the asylum migration to Canada has never been spontaneous among Czech applicants. It is always preceded by a link with the prospector channel or a family network, the report said.

Romany asylum seekers in Canada mostly conduct the same way of life as in the Czech Republic, combining the life on welfare benefits with moonlighting, it added.

Author: TK