Canada: White South African Family’s Refugee Bid Rejected, Accused of Boosting Case with ‘Racist Propaganda’

Adrian Humphreys, Calgary Herald, September 19, 2017

A white family from South Africa has had their refugee claim for asylum in Canada rejected, having been accused of submitting “white-supremacist hate literature” to bolster their claims of violence by the black majority in their homeland.

The claim of the family of six was based on being white South Africans at risk of persecution due to their race, namely Afrikaners, the white minority descended from Dutch settlers in Southern Africa.

Eric Williams Endre and Sonja Endre, a married couple, along with two of their children and Sonja’s parents, all came to Canada in 2016 to visit relatives living here and made refugee claim 10 days later.

The Endres said they were victims of carjacking in 1995, were assaulted on their farm by four black men who entered their home and robbed them in 2004, had their home burglarized in 2013, their car stolen from outside their house in 2014 and, that same year, three black men tried to steal Sonja’s cell phone while she was working.

The Immigration and Refugee Board denied them refugee protection, saying there was no reliable evidence they were attacked due to their race, and it was more probable they were attacked for economic reasons — to steal their possessions.

The Endre family appealed to the Federal Court of Canada, the latest challenge by white South Africans seeking asylum in Canada in post-apartheid South Africa.

They argued the IRB failed to adequately consider the children’s circumstances. They said their children cannot safely play in parks in South Africa; one was bullied and had been taken out of school; and their mother could not walk with her children without fearing they could be assaulted, raped or killed.

Defending the IRB’s decision, the government argued concerns for the children were based on “patently unreliable racist propaganda.”

A government lawyer said the fear of white children being raped by blacks was highly offensive as the information the family relied on was “white-supremacist hate literature” that should be ignored.

The government also said the Endres’ claim was based on a risk of generalized crime in South Africa, meaning that it could impact almost anyone, not only those who are white or Afrikaners.

Refugee status is not meant to protect people who face problems the general population of a country faces, but only fears of persecution specific to race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion.

The international refugee system is not meant to offer a safe haven for all suffering people, the IRB’s published guidelines say.

In deciding the appeal, Justice René LeBlanc, said the refugee claim offered no evidence the state of South Africa is incapable of offering protection for their children from rape or murder.

“It is also settled law that absent a complete breakdown of state apparatus, it is presumed that a state is capable of protecting its citizens and that this presumption can only be rebutted by the refugee claimant with clear and convincing evidence,” LeBlanc said in a decision released last week.

He denied the appeal.

Canada accepts few refugee claims by South African citizens. So far this year, none have been accepted. In 2016 there were 12, in 2015 there were 18, in 2014 there were two and none in 2013.

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