16 Feb 2014

South African wins refugee battle

8:24 pm on 16 February 2014

A South African man has won a battle to claim refugee status in New Zealand.

The Immigration and Deportation Tribunal allowed his appeal - just the fourth time that has happened since the apartheid regime fell in the early 1990s.

The tribunal ruled that violence against people perceived to be foreigners, coupled with a lack of state protection through the police force, meant the Iraqi-born man had a well-founded fear of suffering serious harm in South Africa.

In the 14 years he lived there before fleeing to New Zealand in 2012, he experienced almost daily harassment, frequent verbal and physical attacks and discrimination.

The tribunal had heard the man has developed post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and psychosis.

The panel said it found him credible, despite his initial claim of being a refugee escaping the Islamic regime in Iran.