Feds want white South African's refugee case reviewed
By Donna Casey
October 17, 2009
An immigration and refugee board chairmans jaundiced assessment of conditions in South Africa led him to grant a white man refugee status in Canada based on his race, according to new documents filed by the federal immigration ministry.
In a memorandum of argument filed late last month to the Federal Court in the case of Brandon Huntley, the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration says the IRB made several errors in granting the 31-year-old carnival worker refugee status earlier this summer.
Among those alleged errors made by IRB tribunal panel chairman William Davis in his Aug. 27 decision is equating random acts of violence and criminality which the respondent claims to have experienced in South Africa with persecution due to his race.
The ministry wants the Federal Court to review Huntleys case and send it back to the IRB for a new hearing.
In the 24-page document, the ministry said Davis accepted Huntleys claim that he didnt trust South African police, most of whom are black.
This view is unsupported by international law or Canadian jurisprudence; it rests largely on the boards jaundiced assessment of the country conditions, the ministry said of Daviss view that Huntley offered clear and convincing proof of the states inability or unwillingness to protect him.
The ministry also claims Davis relied too heavily on the evidence of Lara Kaplan, an Ottawa woman and a recent South African immigrant, in his finding of genocide against white South Africans.
In her testimony at Huntleys refugee board hearing in August, Kaplan who is the sister of Huntleys lawyer, Russell Kaplan said all blacks hold all whites equally responsible for apartheid and want whites eradicated and stomped on like ants.
The IRB accepted Kaplans statements which also claimed the corruption of the mainly-black South African police without any objective evidentiary foundation, according the ministry document.
The ministry also slammed the boards claim that Huntley would stand out like a sore thumb due to his colour in any part of the country, calling it unreasonable and perverse to think Huntley wouldnt fit in in large cities such as Pretoria or Cape Town where whites make up close to 20% of the population.
Huntleys case which was first reported by the Ottawa Sun set off a firestorm of political and public debate in South Africa about race, personal safety and violent crime.
Huntleys refugee status also threatened to ignite a diplomatic fiasco between South Africa and Canada, with denunciations from the ruling African National Congress party and Canadian immigration ministry officials rushing to get a review of the IRB decision.
The Federal Court is expected to rule in the coming weeks on the ministrys request to review the Huntley case.