Australia's Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton speaks to reporters in Parliament House in Canberra. Picture: Rod McGuirk/AP
Australia's Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton speaks to reporters in Parliament House in Canberra. Picture: Rod McGuirk/AP

#PeterDutton reiterates desire to save 'persecuted' white SA farmers

By DPA Time of article published Mar 15, 2018

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Sydney - Australia's Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has

doubled down on his comment about "persecuted" white farmers from

South Africa and his desire to bring them to "a civilised country

like ours."

Dutton first gained attraction after he said on Wednesday evening the

white farmers deserve "special attention" because they face violence

and land seizures.

Dutton said he has directed his department to explore whether the

farmers can be accepted into Australia through refugee, humanitarian

or other visas, including the in-country persecution visa Category.

"I think in this circumstance we do need to look at the persecution

that's taking place," Dutton told Sydney's 2GB radio on Thursday.

Dutton said the South African expat community in Australia "work hard

and integrate well into Australian society."

"They contribute and make us a better country. They're the sorts of

migrants that we want to bring into our country."

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The issue of land ownership in South Africa has been a fraught topic

as almost 75 per cent of its farmland is in white hands though they

make up less than 10 percent of the overall population.

Dutton's comments about "the horrific circumstances" faced by the

white farmers ignited a diplomatic row overnight.

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"We regret that the Australian government chose not to use the diplomatic channels available for them to raise concerns or

to seek clarification," South Africa's foreign ministry said.

"There is no reason for any government... to suspect that any South

African is in danger from their own democratically elected

government."

Dutton's own department has come under heavy criticism from the

United Nations and human rights groups for a harsh immigration policy

and failing to protect asylum seekers and refugees, who have been

languishing in Australian offshore detention centres, with reports of

physical and psychological abuse, on two Pacific islands since 2014.

dpa

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