Tribunal: Senior Member Shahyar Roushan
A delegate of the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection refused to grant the applicant a protection visa. The Tribunal affirmed the decision on 23 April 2018.
The applicant was a citizen of Lebanon who arrived in Australia in 2014 on a Visitor visa. She claimed to have run away from Lebanon due to harassment, discrimination and because she received kidnap and death threats in 2012. The applicant claimed that this arose from her leaving her fiancé as he had tried to force her to wear a veil (hijab) and prevent her from studying at a mixed college.
She also claimed that she could not return to Lebanon for fear of being forced to marry one of the armed militia's members and that certain death was awaiting her.
Section 36 of the Migration Act 1958 (the Act) sets out the criteria to be satisfied for a Protection visa. Broadly, the applicant must be a person in respect of whom Australia had protection obligations under the ‘refugee’ criterion or on other ‘complementary protection’ grounds. In basic terms, this arises when a person is found to have a ‘well-founded fear of persecution’ or there is a ‘real risk of significant harm,’ respectively.
The Tribunal accepted that the applicant was engaged to a man who may have been associated with militia groups operating near the applicant’s residence. The Tribunal also accepted that the man was arrested after firing random shots at the institute where the applicant was studying and he was subsequently sentenced to two years imprisonment. The applicant claimed her former fiancé attacked the school because she refused to join his militia. However, the Tribunal found her evidence in this regard to be highly unpersuasive and doubtful. The Tribunal did not accept that the applicant’s former fiancé had any intention of forcefully recruiting her to any group or organisation or that he had the intention of harming the applicant or her family. Further, The Tribunal came to this conclusion after it found some inconsistencies with the applicant’s original claims to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and her evidence to the Tribunal.
The Tribunal also found no information in any of the sources consulted, which included Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade country information assessments, other major foreign government reports, and Lebanese and international news media, to suggest that Daesh or ISIS engaged in forceful recruitment of members of either gender in Lebanon. The Tribunal also did not find any information that ISIS ‘kidnap, rape and kill’ women and girls in Lebanon. The Tribunal also did not accept that applicant would be forced to marry a member of an armed militia.
The applicant did not offer any meaningful or persuasive explanation as to why neither her ex-fiancé’s family members nor any of his associates had attempted to make any contact with the applicant, let alone harm her.
Based on these findings the Tribunal concluded that the applicant did not meet the criteria for a Protection visa.
Read the full written decision on AustLII.