New hearing in Canada for SA asylum seeker

Canada’s federal court on Wednesday ordered a new refugee hearing for a white South African man granted asylum because he claimed he was persecuted in his home country.

The Canadian government, under pressure from South Africa, appealed the independent Immigration and Refugee Board’s controversial decision last year to grant Cape Town-born Brandon Huntley (32) refugee status.

Federal Court Justice James Russell cited “numerous errors” in the refugee board decision that “render it unreasonable … and require that it be returned for reconsideration by a differently constituted” panel.

Board’s decision criticised
He also said the refugee board decision relied too heavily on the oral testimony of one witness who described the current situation in South Africa as being a “reverse apartheid”, and who claimed that “all whites feel the hatred of black South Africans towards them”, and not enough on “broader and more independent sources of general information”.

The refugee tribunal’s ruling last year caused a race debate in South Africa.

The African National Congress (ANC) described Huntley’s claims that he was attacked several times by Africans due to his skin colour as “sensational and alarming”.

“Canada’s reasoning for granting Huntley a refugee status can only serve to perpetuate racism,” the ANC added.

Huntley said he sought asylum in Canada because he feared he could face further violent persecution for being white.

He claimed the attacks against him, including three stabbings, were carried out by black assailants who called him a “white dog” and a “settler” during attempted robberies and muggings.

Justice Russell stressed: “This decision cannot, and should not, be taken as either a personal or a political opinion or assessment about the plight of white South Africans in the post apartheid era.” – AFP

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