Canada refugee decision racist – ANC

Canada refugee decision racist – ANC

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"The African National Congress views the granting by Canada of a refugee status to South African citizen Brandon Huntley on the grounds that Africans would ‘persecute’ him, as racist," it said in a statement.

"We find the claim by Huntley to have been attacked seven times by Africans due his skin colour ‘without any police intervention’ sensational and alarming.

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

The ruling party said President Jacob Zuma has made it very clear that the government would tackle South Africa’s high crime rate, with its annual murder rate standing at around 18 000.

"There are no doubts about the government’s commitment to fight crime in the country. During his 2009 State of the Nation address, President Jacob Zuma made it clear that government would – with the support of all organs of civil society – move with speed in addressing crime."

News24.com reported on Tuesday that Canada had granted South African citizen Huntley refugee status, because the South African government could not protect him from persecution by "African South Africans".

The Canadian newspaper, the Ottawa Sun, quoted a representative of the SA High Commission in Ottawa, Anesh Maistry, as saying South Africa had taken note of the decision, reported News24.com.

Maistry told News24.com that Canada was a sovereign country that made its own laws.

The Ottawa Sun reported that Huntley had provided "clear and convincing proof of the South African government’s inability or unwillingness to protect him" to a Canadian immigration and refugee board.

His evidence showed "a picture of indifference and inability or unwillingness" of the South African government to protect "white South Africans from persecution by African South Africans", said tribunal panel chair William Davis.

"I find that the claimant would stand out like a ‘sore thumb’ due to his colour in any part of the country," said Davis.

Home affairs spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa said the government was "disgusted" by the ruling, describing it as "baseless allegations against our people and our country".

"It would have been courteous for the Canadian government to allow the South African government to respond to the allegations," Mamoepa told News24.com.

Huntley, who grew up in Mowbray, Cape Town, said he had been attacked seven times by black South Africans and was called a "white dog" and a "settler".

"There’s a hatred of what we did to them and it’s all about the colour of your skin," Huntley reportedly said.

Huntley travelled to Canada on a six-month work permit in 2004 and returned to Canada in 2005, living there illegally until he made a refugee claim in April 2008, the Ottawa Sun reported.

South African civil rights organisation AfriForum said the South African government should view the ruling "in a serious light".

"South Africa’s human rights record has already suffered serious damage as a result of the seemingly uncontrolled crime in the country," said spokesperson Willie Spies.

"Urgent deliberation is required now and therefore a task team of experts from minority communities should be appointed to investigate the fears which result in emigration," he said.

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