Notes from underground

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Archive for the tag “refugee status”

Seeking asylum: varying views from five continents

Asylum seekers seem to keep on making news. In some places, like Australia, asylum seekers are regarded as criminals, and the media sometimes refer to “suspected asylum seekers”, as though seeking asylum was a crime one could be suspected of committing.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which has been signed by most countries, says:

Article 14.

(1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
(2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

In Canada, it seems, this right has been respected even when it seems contrary to Section (2) above: Row as Canada gives asylum to white South African | World news | The Guardian

Asylum seeker Brandon Huntley claimed he had been persecuted, abused and repeatedly stabbed. But it was the reason he gave for his ordeal that caused a diplomatic rift today. Huntley is South African – and white.

Canada’s decision to grant him refugee status because of his colour prompted accusations of racism from the South African government and a fresh bout of soul searching in a country still scarred by the legacy of apartheid. Some South African whites say they have become a persecuted minority.

But France refused asylum to Vladimir Popov, Yekaterina Popova and their two children, who claimed that they were persecuted in Kazakhstan because they were Orthodox Christians and ethic Russians. French authorities kept them in detention for two weeks and repeatedly tried to deport them to Kazakhstan. That seems to be in line with the treatment of asylum seekers in Australia and, in some cases, South Africa.

But in this case the European Court of Human Rights disagreed Interfax-Religion
reports:

The European Court of Human Rights found France guilty of violating Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment), Article 5 (right to liberty and security) and Article 8 (right to respect to private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights, and ordered France to pay the family 13,000 euros.

So here are five different countries — Australia, Canada, France, Kazakhstan, and South Africa — on five different continents, with very different attitudes to asylum seekers and asylum seeking. For some seeking asylum is a human right, for others it is a crime.

SA white gets refugee status in Canada

Wow, Canada really has changed. In the 1980s it at least paid lip-service supporting the anti-apartheid struggle, but even in the worst days of apartheid I don’t think I’ve come across anything quite as racist as this.

SA white gets refugee status: News24: SouthAfrica: News:

Ottawa – A white South African man has been granted refugee status in Canada, after an immigration board panel ruled he would be persecuted if he returned home to South Africa, the Ottawa Sun reports.

This is the first time a white South African has been granted refugee status in Canada claiming persecution from black South Africans, the newspaper said.

Brandon Huntley, 31, presented ‘clear and convincing proof of the state’s inability or unwillingness to protect him’, the Canadian immigration and refugee board panel ruled last Thursday.

‘I find that the claimant would stand out like a ‘sore thumb’ due to his colour in any part of the country,” tribunal panel chair William Davis said.

Hat-tip to The BlaBla Blog.

“Stand out like a sore thumb because of his colour in any part of the country?” That guy must be channelling Dr Verwoerd.

Is Canada really as racist as that?

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