05 Nov 2010

The Incomprehensible Flow of Roma Asylum-Seekers from the Czech Republic and Hungary to Canada

Judit Toth

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This working paper analyses the flow of Roma migrants, in particular asylum seekers, from the Czech Republic and Hungary to Canada in 1996–2010. Although the fate of the Roma is at the centre of events, statistics on asylum applications along with an interpretation of the history of migration issues, from the perspectives of both international relations and EU policy, illustrate the classical debate on state sovereignty versus universal or at least European solidarity. They reflect the debate on the binding human rights of fragile groups versus security preconditions and prejudices. This amalgam of migration, visa and asylum policies has affected the lives of Roma and their efforts to achieve equal treatment, integration and citizenship in their country of residence as well as their homeland.

This work was prepared as part of a project on Migration and Asylum in Europe and EU-Canada Relations, funded by the European Commission, Directorate-General for External Relations, Relations with the US and Canada. The project aims at providing a better understanding of the conceptual, political, sociological and legal elements and dilemmas characterising the development of common European public responses to these issues, and their implications for the relationship between liberty and security in EU-Canada relations.

Judit Tóth is Associate Professor of Law at the University of Szeged and Senior Research Fellow at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Comparative Research in the Social Sciences (ICCR) in Budapest.