Huntley’s refugee bid overturned

2010-11-27 09:25

Ottawa – Canada’s Federal Court overturned a contentious immigration ruling that granted refugee status to a white man from South Africa who claimed persecution from blacks in his home country.

Brandon Huntley argued that whites were targeted by black criminals in South Africa and that the South African government did nothing to protect them. He claimed he was attacked seven times during attempted robberies and muggings.

A Canadian immigration board panel tribunal found Huntley’s fears justified and gave him refugee status in August last year. South Africa had asked the Canadian government to appeal to the court.

Judge James Russell said this week that the decision was badly flawed and it was clear to him that Huntley came to Canada looking for a job, not to flee persecution.

When asked by the refugee panel why he came to Canada, Huntley said: “I came here to look for work because I can’t find work in my country and it’s easier finding work overseas.”

When the refugee decision came down, the South African government expressed outrage and the case raised a furore in local media. The authorities called the decision itself “racist” and “ridiculous” and made diplomatic complaints.

Russell said it was possible some white South Africans could make a case for persecution, but had doubts about Huntley.

“I have serious reservations about why this particular white South African came to Canada and, after a considerable delay, opted to claim refugee status.”

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