Canada's white refugee ruling racist: South Africa

Tue Sep 1, 2009 1:07pm EDT
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By Michael Georgy

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Canada's decision to grant refugee status to a South African who said he was persecuted because he is white drew accusations of racism from the country's ruling ANC on Tuesday.

Race is a highly sensitive issue in South Africa, still scarred by decades of apartheid, which ended in 1994.

Whites still dominate Africa's biggest economy. But some say they face reverse discrimination, and are deprived of jobs by a black economic empowerment program.

A Canadian immigration board ruled that South African Brandon Huntley could stay in Canada.

Canada's Ottawa Sun newspaper quoted the panel's chairman, William Davis, as saying Huntley would stand out like a "sore thumb" due to his color in any part of South Africa.

"The African National Congress (ANC) views the granting by Canada of a refugee status to South African citizen Brandon Huntley on the grounds that Africans would 'persecute' him, as racist," the party said in a statement.

"We find the claim by Huntley to have been attacked seven times by Africans due his skin color without any police intervention sensational and alarming. Canada's reasoning for granting Huntley a refugee status can only serve to perpetuate racism."

A spokesman for the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) of Canada said he could not comment on individual cases.   Continued...