Asylum Overturned For South African Boer
The Federal Court in Canada has overturned the refugee status of a White South African who claimed he was the victim of racial persecution in his country.
Brandon Huntley, 31, testified in his case before the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) that he was constantly called a “white dog” and “settler” by Black South Africans back home. The former Capetown resident was also robbed 7 times and stabbed three times by Black South Africans since his home country ended Apartheid in 1994. However, in their Wednesday ruling, the Court said Huntley had not proven his attacks were racially motivated, reports The New York Times.
After the IRB granted Huntley refugee status in August 2009, the South African government cried “racism” and moved to have an “urgent overview” of the decision. The South African media then began a media smear campaign against Huntley, dredging up everything they could find about him. After some diplomatic wrangling, the Canadian government issued a statement days later saying South Africa “promotes a tolerant, multi-racial society” and began court proceedings to have the IRB ruling overturned.
Calling the initial decision “badly flawed,” Judge James Russell ruled that Huntley came to Canada looking for work and not to escape racial persecution. In his decision, which can be read in full here, Judge Russell ordered a new hearing by the Immigration and Refugee Board for Huntley.
The Globe and Mail gives a synopsis of Judge Russell’s decision:
When asked by the refugee panel why he came to Canada, Mr. Huntley said, “I came here to look for work because I can’t find work in my country and it’s easier finding work overseas.”
The judge wrote: “Nothing could be clearer from this answer than that the respondent’s reasons for coming to Canada were economic and had nothing to do with being a refugee.”
He went on: “There is no objective foundation for a finding in the respondent’s personal evidence that he left South Africa because he fears race-based crime. He finds the lack of economic opportunities intolerable and he is looking for a better way of life.”
He pointed out that Mr. Huntley came to Canada originally in 2004, returned home later that year, came back in June of 2005 and stayed on illegally after his work visa expired six months later.
Yet he didn’t file a refugee claim until April of 2008.
The judge pointed out that Mr. Huntley testified that he was attacked by black South Africans on several occasions, but didn’t report the incidents to police.
Judge Russell said it’s not surprising the attackers were black, given South Africa’s demographics.
“Surely in a country where the black population amounts to 80 per cent of the whole, and where the white European population only 9 per cent, then most of the crime perpetrated against white people must, of necessity, be perpetrated by black people, just as most of the crime against black people must also, of necessity, be perpetrated by black people,” he wrote.
If the new trial determines Huntley does not deserve refugee status, he will be returned to South Africa. Huntley’s ex-wife, Melanie Crete-Huntley, told reporters back in June 2009 that her ex-husband would likely be killed if he is sent back.
South African Department of Home Affairs spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa welcomed the Canadian court ruling, saying Huntley did not deserve refugee status.
Huntley’s lawyer Russel Kaplan told iafrica.com that his client’s case has helped place the plight of many White South Africans on the world stage.
He said the Canadian Federal Court has found clearly and expressly that while evidence may be lacking in Huntley’s specific case, White South Africans can qualify for refugee protection in that country.
Kaplan said as far as he is concerned, the ruling opens the door for people in South Africa to go to Canada or any other country that has signed the refugee convention and ask for protection.