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White South African family seeks US asylum, claiming racial discrimination

An Afrikaner family has applied for asylum in the United States, claiming that as white South Africans they face racism back home.
White afrikaner family asylum 2012 02 22Enlarge
Oscar winning Actress Charlize Theron wipes away tears as she meets former South African President Nelson Mandela at Mandela House following her Academy Awards success, on March 11, 2004 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Naashon Zalk/Getty Images)

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — A South African family is seeking asylum in the United States, claiming that as white Afrikaner farmers they face racial discrimination back home.

The family's lawyer has been contacting US academics to try and get scholarly opinions that would help with their case, South African daily the Times reported today. Lawyer Rehim Babaoglu said the family is too afraid to be identified.

Several US professors have rejected requests for help with the asylum case, the Times said.

"I am not interested in assisting Afrikaners claiming discrimination in a non-racial, democratic, post-apartheid South Africa," professor Dennis Laumann from the University of Memphis told the newspaper.

More than 5 million whites live in South Africa, making up more than 9 percent of the total population, according to Statistics South Africa.

More from GlobalPost: Canadian decision on Brandon Huntley riles South Africans

According to US statistics, 129 South Africans were granted asylum between 2001 and 2010, the Times said.

In a high-profile case in Canada, South African Brandon Huntley was granted refugee status after claiming that, as a white man, he was being targeted by black criminals in racially motivated robberies.

However, this decision was later overturned and Huntley is now fighting extradition from Canada.

More from GlobalPost: In South Africa, 'Shoot the Boer' song stirs bitter controversy

In South Africa, white Afrikaner farmers feel they are being targeted in brutal attacks and killings on their farms.

Thousands of white farmers have been murdered since 1994, although a committee of inquiry in 2003 found that only 2 percent of farm attacks were racially or politically motivated. The main motive is robbery, but the attacks are often unnecessarily violent, raising questions about whether they are fueled by racial anger.

Statistically, black South Africans are far more likely to be victims of crime.

A study by the Institute for Security Studies found that black men between the ages of 26 and 40 are the most likely victims of crime in South Africa.

More from GlobalPost: South Africa: Controversy over political poster showing interracial couple

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/weird-wide-web/white-south-african-family-seeks-asylum-us-afrikaners-racial-discrimination

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