Mar 3, 2015
Pusuma family forced to leave country before admission of misconduct by family’s lawyer
For immediate release
March 2, 2015
Statement from the Jewish – Refugee Action Network
Pusuma family forced to leave country before admission of misconduct by lawyer
Friends in Jewish community pledge to continue fight for fairness for refugees
The Jewish – Refugee Action Network (JRAN) is adding its voice to a chorus of condemnation for Canada’s reckless refugee policies following today’s news of the admitted misconduct of the Pusuma family’s lawyer at the Law Society of Upper Canada, confirmed by a ruling of the Law Society Tribunal. This news comes too late for the Pusuma family, who recently had to depart from Canada. Abandoning more than half a century of principled, compassionate refugee policies, the federal government refused to give due consideration to the family’s plight, forcing them to seek sanctuary in a church for three years before leaving the country. The government also ignored the pleas of faith leaders, legal experts, refugee advocates, and tens of thousands of Canadians who asked that the Pusumas to be allowed to stay until they received a fair review of their case.
The Pusumas, who came as refugee claimants from Hungary, are of Roma origin and Jewish lineage. Despite their work as human rights activists, the Pusumas were targeted for discrimination and harassment based on their faith and background. They and their then-one year old daughter were physically attacked by Hungarian neo-Nazis.
Fleeing for their lives to Canada, the Pusumas hoped they would be welcomed as refugees fleeing persecution. Instead, they were taken advantage of by an unscrupulous refugee lawyer and ended up living in sanctuary for three years. Their daughter Lulu spent the last three years without the freedom to make friends, play outside, or even attend school.
This is not the Canadian way of treating vulnerable people, let alone children. Due to the government’s callous disregard for this family along with an alarming disregard for justice, the Pusumas have left Canada. Unsafe in Hungary and with no right to remain elsewhere in Europe for any length of time, the Pusuma family is left with an uncertain future and dependent on the goodwill of others.
The Pusumas are an honorable, accomplished, and loving family who would make a wonderful contribution to this country. Instead, they have left Canada with a heavy heart. For their many friends left behind there is a well of sadness and rage. Along with many other supporters, JRAN has pledged to continue the fight to rebuild a just refugee system, hoping very much to one day welcome back the Pusuma family to our country.
But for now, it is a sad day for Canada.
More information is available on our website at wwww.jran.ca or at the Free Lulu campaign site www.freelulu.ca.
JRAN is a national organization that brings together individuals from diverse backgrounds who are deeply concerned about the changes made in 2012 to Canada's refugee determination system and refugee health care coverage. These changes place refugees at risk and disrupt Canada's humanitarian values and traditions. JRAN is a Jewish initiative that invites multi-faith and multi-cultural support and welcomes the involvement of individuals throughout Canada. Our mission is to advocate for change through the political process, education, public-speaking, and the media.
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