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Canada government to appeal asylum for white South African

[JURIST] A spokesperson for the department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) [official website] said Thursday that the Canadian government will appeal a controversial decision by the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) [official website] to grant asylum to a white South African man who claims he faced persecution in his homeland because of race. The ruling was issued [Times report] last week in the case of Brandon Huntley who came to Canada in 2006 as a carnival worker and then stayed illegally before filing an asylum claim. Huntley claimed [Globe and Mail report] that he was the victim of attempted robberies and racial slurs and that he could not get a job because of his race. The Federal Court will decide whether to hear the case within a month, and will then hold a hearing [Reuters report] about three months later if the case is accepted.

The IRB's decision sparked outrage in South Africa where race is still an extremely sensitive issue, 15 years after the end of apartheid. Earlier this week, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) [party website] condemned [press release] the decision as "racist." The South African Institute of Race Relations [advocacy website] said [press release, PDF] that it "has found no evidence that there is a general pattern of racial attacks on white South Africans by black South Africans. Rather ... the vast majority of the victims of violent crime are black."

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