http://www.news24.com/Content/SouthAfrica/News/1059/0b2ef948450849bbb0fca4c8aefedbea/03-09-2009 11-04/Canada_wants_white_SA_refugee_ruling_overturnedToronto - Canada's federal government said on Thursday it was challenging a contentious Canadian immigration board panel ruling that granted refugee status to a white South African man, Brandon Huntley, who claimed persecution from blacks in his home country.
Danielle Norris, spokesperson for the Department of Citizenship and Immigration, said the government will challenge the decision before the Federal Court.
She earlier said department lawyers were studying the panel's decision.
South Africa had asked the Canadian government to appeal to the court.
Huntley argued that whites are targeted by black criminals in South Africa and that the country's government does nothing to protect them.
He claimed he was attacked seven times during attempted robberies and muggings.
No comment from immigration board
Tribunal panel chair William Davis ruled that Huntley would stand out like a "sore thumb" due to his colour and ruled that Huntley's fears of persecution are justified based on the evidence he submitted.
The Immigration and Refugee Board has refused to comment on the case.
Board spokesperson Stephane Malepart has said he is barred from commenting on any individual case by privacy provisions.
The board is an independent tribunal that operates at arms' length from the Canadian government.
No additional evidence
Norris said a judicial review by the Federal Court will not hear additional evidence, with respect to the facts, for example, about conditions in South Africa.
Anesh Maistry, head of the political section at the South African High Commission in Canada, said board's decision is wrong and belies the reality of South Africa.
Maistry also said the board never asked for South Africa's views on Huntley's claims nor did it seek to confirm his allegations of repeated attacks.
"This decision is incorrect, it is not factual, it does not represent the facts on the ground. It portrays South Africa in a negative light and it misrepresents the work that has been done in the last 15 years to build a non-racial society in the country," Maistry said.
It's about crime, not race
Abraham Nkomo, South Africa's High Commissioner to Canada, said the refugee board was taken for a ride in the matter and said that it's a crime issue, not a race issue.
"There is no persecution of the white community in South Africa. What crime does happen happens to targets of convenience," Nkomo said in an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.
Nkomo met with Canadian officials and expressed surprise that Huntley was granted refugee status.
Deepak Obrai, Canada's parliamentary secretary to the minister of Foreign Affairs and a Conservative lawmaker in Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government, expressed outrage over the board's decision and said it showed a serious lack of judgment.
"Having grown up in Africa and witnessed the devastating effects of apartheid, in this case against blacks and Indians, it is beyond my understanding how a Canadian institution makes a decision on a racial basis," said Obrai, who was born in Tanzania.
well he will stick out if he gets sent back
anybody got the odds of him surviving 6 months once back?