Sunday, October 17, 2004

Roma refugee in solitary confinement and on hunger strike

Adrian Dragan, a Roma refugee that has been held for 16 months awaiting removal to Romania, has been put into solitary confinement at Fraser Pre-trial in Coquitlam, BC, after refusing to sign documents that he is willing to return to Romania. He is a Roma (also known as "Gypsy") and faces serious danger and repression if removed to Romania, where Roma people are regularly attacked and persecuted. In fact, Adrian renounced his citizenship in Romania in 1993 to condemn the racism against Roma there, and since he does not have formal citizenship, he is now being held in jailed limbo, without rights as a citizen in either Canada or Romania. Canada has already tried once to send Adrian to Romania, but he was refused at the Romanian border. Since he is no longer a citizen of Romania, it would have been against international law to force him to enter, so he was sent back to Canada and is now in continued detention by Immigration Canada. Liviu Maior, the Ambassador of Romania to Canada, has stated in writing that “pursuant to the Romanian and international laws, the stateless person Adrian Dragan has no more legal connection with Romania... Romania would receive the stateless person Adrian Dragan only as a result of the latter's express will.” And yet Canadian officials persist unable to deport him and refusing to release him. As a stateless citizen, Dragan has no homeland and no country of residence. As a signatory of the United Nations’ 1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, Canada has an international duty to accept and protect stateless people.

for more information contact
No One is Illegal Vancouver: (604) 682-3269 x 7149
Ontario Coalition Against Poverty: (416) 925-6939

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