African National Congress calls Canadian refugee decision racist
The Canadian Press (CP)
September 2, 2009
OTTAWA South Africa's ruling party says a Canadian immigration tribunal decision giving refugee status to a white South African is a racist move.
Published reports say Canada's immigration and refugee board granted status last week to Brandon Huntley after he claimed he would be persecuted at home because of his colour – and that the South African government could not protect him.
In a statement, the African National Congress called Huntley's claims of being attacked seven times because of his colour “sensational and alarming.”
“Canada's reasoning for granting Huntley a refugee status can only serve to perpetuate racism.”
The immigration and refugee board refused to comment on the case or to release the decision. Board spokesman Stephane Malepart said he is barred from commenting on any individual case by privacy provisions.
News reports, however, said the board allowed Huntley to stay in Canada because he presented “clear and convincing proof of the state's inability or unwillingness to protect him.”
“I find that the claimant would stand out like a 'sore thumb' due to his colour in any part of the country,” tribunal panel chair William Davis was quoted as saying.
The congress statement said the South African government is dedicated to fighting crime.
“South Africa is a constitutional democracy with organs of state fully in place to fight crime – one of the ANC's key priorities – without any reference to race of a victim or perpetrator.”
Ronnie Mamoepa, a spokesman for South Africa's Department of Home Affairs, told The Cape Times newspaper the department was aware of Huntley's “baseless allegations against our people and our country”.
“His claims would have been preposterous and laughable had they not been so serious,” Mamoepa added.
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