As The Ottawa Sun reported on Friday:
A photograph of Brandon Huntley posted on the Web site of Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper.A Canadian immigration and refugee board panel ruled Thursday that Brandon Huntley, 31, could stay in Canada because he presented “clear and convincing proof of the state’s inability or unwillingness to protect him.”
“I find that the claimant would stand out like a ’sore thumb’ due to his color in any part of the country,” tribunal panel chair William Davis said in his decision to grant Huntley refugee status.
Mr. Huntley, 31, claimed that he was called a “white dog” and a “settler” by black assailants while being mugged seven times during the years he lived outside Cape Town. According to The Globe and Mail, Mr. Huntley said that he had failed to report any of these attacks to the police in South Africa because he “did not trust them.”
The immigration and refugee board ruling said that Mr. Huntley had proven that the South African government, through “indifference and inability or unwillingness,” was failing to protect “white South Africans from persecution by African South Africans.”
The Ottawa Sun reported that Mr. Huntley said violent crime against white South Africans by black South Africans was racially motivated: “There’s a hatred of what we did to them and it’s all about the color of your skin.”
The Globe and Mail noted that the decision “has ignited a firestorm of controversy in South Africa, damaging relations between the two countries and denting Canada’s image in a country where it was once seen as a stalwart of the anti-apartheid struggle.”
On Tuesday Reuters reported that a spokesman for the African National Congress, which now rules South Africa, said “Canada’s reasoning for granting Huntley a refugee status can only serve to perpetuate racism.”
On Wednesday Agence France-Presse reported that Sue van der Merwe, South Africa’s deputy minister of international relations, said the decision “shows a lack of familiarization with the facts and reality of South African society.” Another A.N.C. official called the ruling, “preposterous and laughable.”
A spokesman for the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada told The Globe and Mail that the body is intended to operate independently, but added that Canada’s federal government does have the power to ask for judicial review of any decision.
In South Africa, the BBC found a unanimity of opinion from seven citizens of various races who said that while crime is a problem, Mr. Huntley’s claims were “absolute nonsense,” since “thugs attack you because they believe you have something they want.”
- The Canadian Immigration and Refugee board has a history of strange decisions. Allowing some refugee status when it is not warranted and denying some which are warranted. I would trust the result of that tiny poll that the BBC conducted, saying that the claims were absolute nonsense, rather than the Canadian board.
I’m Canadian, by the way.
— Gary Marantz
- Thank God that that there is a place in the world where white people can live free of racial oppression.
- Well, if the BBC conducted a poll than it (whatever the result is) must be true!
After all, it’s not like the Beeb is consumed by moral posturing in a continual (and all too often embarrassing) effort to show just how down with the darker peoples of the world it’s lily-white structure is.
Perhaps this man’s claim has little or no basis. I don’t claim to know. But really, you can’t cite a BBC poll as a source for anything but what’s currently received ‘Guardian’-reading middle-class privileged white opinion, fantasy or desire.
LEDE BLOG REPLY: We’re verging on the off-topic here, but to clarify, we did not say the BBC conducted a poll; we said that they spoke to a handful of South Africans who agreed that this claim is preposterous. Whatever your feeling about the British media, it is possible that most South Africans find the idea that the country is not safe for white people absurd.
- Fleeing From South Africa
Fourteen years after apartheid, why are the best and the brightest leaving Africa’s most successful state?
The primary driver for emigration among all groups, but especially whites, who still retain the majority of South Africa’s wealth, is fear of crime.
- Poor, poor Canada…
- Please someone, grant me asylum for being Black in White America.
It’s only fair, right?
Decisions like this in no way help alleviate a racist system, rather they uphold it.
- A follow up on the Newsweek article: “Another largely unnoticed problem is the growing number of attacks on South Africa’s white farmers. As in neighboring Zimbabwe, some of the attacks appear to be racially motivated. Others seem simply opportunistic, but the result is that white farmers’ numbers continue to decrease, leading to fears that despite the government’s good intentions, a Zimbabwe-style crisis—where the flight of skilled farmers led to an agricultural collapse—is possible here too.”
- I am Cuban and live in the U,S.,according to laws here ,if you are mugged or beaten while being called a white dog or settler ,it would constitute a Hate Crime since whites are a minority in South Africa.
- Cape Town is a big city and not some backwater village I doubt he stood out as a white person. And the area outside of Cape Town is surrounded by wineries, shopping and other touristy things. Are we really supposed to believe that this guy constantly found himself assailed because he was white? Because they thought he had money maybe….Although maybe he got mugged cause he looks like a major tool.
- Regardless of how plausible the claim is, I don’t see how the “indifference and inability or unwillingness” of the government of South Africa could be established if the incidents were never reported to them. If the expectation is that the government will stop crimes they don’t know about, he’ll probably be disappointed to discover that Canada does not employ psychics, either.
- I know personally of many Indians being killed, injured and robbed of their belongings by Africans and so are Africans, Coloureds and Europeans. The head of the Jewish board has made a statement to the effect that this is not racism (Zev). Many Jewish people were involved in the struggle in South Africa. The African people were deprived of basic human rights because of their race by the Europeans since they arrived there in l652 until Mandela took over in l994. The Europeans may well be called racist names and so are Africans themselves, Indians and Coloureds. The ‘moral’ evolutuion of the Europeans in particular will take many generations like in the deep American south.
— Radha Pather
Your comment is awaiting moderation.I find the language of the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board particularly troubling when it stated that governmental “indifference and inability or unwillingness,” led to the persecution of “white South Africans…by African South Africans.” Are not white and black South Africans all Africans?
I thought Whites in South Africa have since made the claim to their African identity? But the Canadian ruling seems to reinforce the apartheid construction that African identity is exclusive to blacks? Do South African whites become Africans only when it suits?
— Nkossu, Nditi