Canada also rejected the notion that the South African president and other political figures singing “Kill a Boer, kill a farmer” constituted discrimination or hate speech.
Eric Williams Endre and Sonja Endre, a married couple, along with two of their children and Sonja’s parents, visited Canada in 2016 and after hearing that the country championed human rights, decided to apply for refugee status as they had already been attacked five times by blacks in South Africa. Once in 1995 their car was hijacked at gunpoint, then in 2004 they suffered a home invasion with four blacks assaulting and robbing them. In 2013 their home was burglarized. A year later, in 2014, their car was stolen outside their house and later in the same year three black men tried to steal Sonja’s cell phone while she was working.
While Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has often said in the media that “all refugees are welcome in Canada”, his statement apparently does not apply to white South Africans, specifically Afrikaners. Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board denied the Endres refugee protection, saying “there was no reliable evidence that they were attacked due to their race, and it was more probable they were attacked for economic reasons — to steal their possessions”.
During their appeal to the Federal Court of Canada, the family argued that the IRB failed to adequately consider the children’s circumstances. They said that “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”.
South Africa has the highest incidence of rape in the world. However, defending the IRB’s decision, government lawyers stated that 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.
According to Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board, 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 his judgment dismissing their appeal, René LeBlanc said: “It is also settled law that absents 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.”
Until now, very few South African citizens have been accorded refugee status in Canada. So far in 2017, none has been accepted. In 2016 there were 12, in 2015 there were 18, in 2014 there were two and none in 2013.