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Was it right to grant refugee status to white South African?

September 2, 2009

Canada’s decision to grant refugee status to white South African Brandon Huntley has drawn anger from the ruling African National Congress, which described it as racist, and has again stirred the race debate in South Africa 14 years after the end of apartheid.

Huntley had cited persecution by black South Africans as the reason why he could not return to the country of his birth. The chair of the Canadian panel that granted his request said he had shown evidence “of indifference and inability or unwillingness” of South Africa’s government to protect white South Africans from “persecution by African South Africans”.

“I find that the claimant would stand out like a ‘sore thumb’ due to his colour in any part of the country,” the chair of the tribunal panel, William Davis, was quoted as saying.

In his application for asylum, Huntley said he had been a victim of multiple crimes by black South Africans and added that white South Africans were a target.

He pointed at the country’s Black Economic Empowerment policies as institutionalised reverse racism that has ensured that he has no opportunities.

The Ottawa Sun described how Huntley first came to Canada to work as a carnival attendant on a six-month work permit in 2004, came back in 2005 and then stayed on illegally until he made a refugee claim in 2008.

Anyone visiting South Africa will certainly see plenty of evidence of white South Africans doing extremely well and generally having a higher standard of living than the majority of black South Africans. White South Africans head many top firms while the highest crime rates are not in the suburbs of the affluent, but in the poor black townships.

Many members of minority groups do complain, however, that they are discriminated against in the Rainbow Nation, led by the ANC since Nelson Mandela took office as president in 1994.

Was Canada justified in giving refugee status to Huntley or was the decision racist? If white South Africans can claim refugee status then who can’t? Is the ANC over-reacting and missing a sign of disaffection by a large minority group?

Have your say.


it is well known by now that white male south africans have been marginalised in our workplace over the past 4 years.In fact females are also in the firing line now as there 19.5% penetration has been oversubscribed so they also will be more and more marginalised.If this is the case then i applaud the Canadian Immigration for recognising this fact and helping where they can.What does the SA government want to do with Huntley but allow him to sit here unemployed to repay him for the sins of the pastCanada should be praised for helping out a distressed person thanks Canada.I hope other countries will also lend a helping hand as having anybody without a job is just not good for any country.

Posted by shaun price | Report as abusive

From the limited information available it appears that the decision to grant asylum or refugee status was wrong in law and principle because it is not the South African Government (the requirement under the Human Rights Convention), that was committing the persecution or was unwilling to afford protection to the gentleman. There is a comprehensive system of crime prevention that is and has been implemented consistently by the South African Government to protect all Citizens regardless of race colour or creed.In any event, if this gentlemenan was a genuine refugee, the first thing he would have asked for is protection from the Canadian government the first opportunity he arrived in Canada.This is a sad refelection on the system because Canada is well known for its lack of biase, fairness and neutrality.

Posted by John | Report as abusive

i am a congolese DRC living in SA since dec2000,i worked as a ARMED RESPONSE OFFICER 5YRS,currently a civil engineering student.i will say that from experience SA was not safe not only for white but mostly for blacks. the firearm regulations makes it west and unskills police offers. for sure whites are much safe than blacks SA, in suburbs crime priventions are there from private to official but in blacks you will notice that murder is every minute. if BRANDON is to accuse race, why did he wait for so long to present his issue or stay illigal in CANADA? I am being persecuted by blacks SA as a result of XENOPHOBIA and being maried to a SA BLACK LADY makes it west but i also have to look at the facts {job opportinity is the man reason that turned to descrimination }, questions are : WERE TO, HOW ABOUT MY CHILDREN, WHAT NEXT, . . . the law is much friendly to criminal with no exeption of race.

Posted by francois | Report as abusive

My opinion is this… any nation Canada, UK, Australia, USA etc… should re-write there immigration laws to include persecution for racisim.. they allow it for religion? So why not? These changed laws should specifically be geared to any African national, that isn’t really African, but caucasion, Asian, etc. Once all the whites are safely removed from SA, and other places… just watch how quickly they collapse. From everything I have read, and saw… the evidence is clear. It just doesn’t seem like these native blacks have the same goals, and abilities that Euro, and Asians have… that is to progress in a civil society… why those SA people natives alone have tribal differences… and will eventually rip the area apart. I just don’t like reading and hearing about my white brothers and sisters being abused in the process… so please all of you, get smart like Brandon did… figure something out…now before it is too late.

Posted by d | Report as abusive

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