Sep 03, 2009 05:31 PM
OTTAWA BUREAU CHIEF
OTTAWA – The federal government is appealing a controversial decision by an independent tribunal to grant asylum to a white South African because he feared black persecution in his homeland.
Ottawa announced the rare move today to challenge the decision by the Immigration and Refugee Board after growing condemnation and worldwide publicity of the asylum ruling.
"Our department’s lawyers as well as those from (Department of Justice) reviewed the IRB decision. The government decided to appeal the IRB decision. Further details will be provided in our various submissions to the courts," said Alykhan Velshi, spokesperson for Immigration Minister Jason Kenney.
Brandon Huntley, 31, of Ottawa, had argued that his life and his livelihood were threatened in the African National Congress’s South Africa.
Huntley demonstrated "a picture of indifference and inability or unwillingness" by South Africa to protect "white South Africans from persecution by African South Africans," William Davis, a member of the refugee protection division of the IRB wrote in his decision.
However, the decision sparked some outcry. The South African government had branded the decision as "racist" and "alarming" and warned it could impact its relations with Ottawa.