Sunday, September 06, 2009

Huntley Asylum: Canada wants refugee claim reviewed

From the Ottawa Sun

Related: Canadian Asylum: Huntley Lawyer Details


'I can't go back now' he says, as political firestorm rages in his homeland

The Canadian government will ask the Federal Court to review a refugee board decision that granted a white South African man refugee status based on the colour of his skin.

A spokeswoman with the citizenship and immigration ministry confirmed late Thursday afternoon that the federal government will seek leave to appeal the case of Brandon Huntley.

A refugee board panel granted the 31-year-old former carnival worker refugee status last week, with board member William Davis saying Huntley “would stand out like a ‘sore thumb’ due to his colour in any part of the country” and risked persecution.

In that decision — which was first reported by the Ottawa Sun — Davis said Huntley’s case showed “a picture of indifference and inability or unwillingness of the government and the security forces to protect white South Africans from persecution from black South Africans.”

The feds’ request to review the Huntley case — which might end up being re-tried at the Immigration and Review Board by a different panel member — comes in the wake of political and public uproar in South Africa and around the world.

The refugee board decision also threatened to damage diplomatic relations between Canada and South Africa.

“The high commission is very pleased. The Canadian government has reaffirmed to us their commitment to bilateral relations that we have with Canada,” said Anesh Maistry, counsellor for political affairs at the South African High Commission in Ottawa.

Earlier this week, the ruling African National Congress government slammed the refugee board ruling as “racist,” “sensationalist” and “alarming.”

Huntley’s lawyer Russell Kaplan said the Canadian government had “succumbed” to political pressure from the South African government to review the case.

Quoting former Supreme Court Justice John Sopinka, Kaplan said “the biggest threat to our civil liberties is political correctness.”

“I believe it is a politically correct move just to appease the South African government — at least to do the review,” said Kaplan, a white South African who emigrated to Canada in 1989.

The refugee board was assessing Huntley’s own claims of persecution, said Kaplan.

“No one is disputing that black and white South Africans might face (violence),” said Kaplan, adding that Huntley underwent “cumulative” persecution through violent attacks and “an atmosphere of insecurity” in the country, including affirmative action programs that favour black South Africans getting jobs.

The government rarely appeals refugee board decisions. [...unless the applicant is white of course...]

Between 2004 and 2008, the IRB granted refugee status to 50,655 claimants.

In 2008, only 15 cases were reviewed by the Federal Court, with 11 cases sent back to the refugee board to be re-heard by a different board member.

It’s expected it will take between two to three months to learn if the Federal Court will grant the federal government leave to review Huntley’s case.

donna.casey@sunmedia.ca

1 Opinion(s):

Peter Blog said...

ugggg this horse is not dead yet.

AfriForum, is willing to help the with the review board to grant asylum to Capetonian, Brandon Huntley. please read:

http://www.afriforum.co.za/english/?p=3356