Tribunal: Member T Flood
A mother and daughter applied for review of decisions made by the Department of Home Affairs to refuse their applications for protection visas.
Australia has an obligation under the Migration Act 1958 to protect individuals who can satisfy one of two criteria. The ‘refugee criterion’ broadly requires the applicant to have a ‘well-founded fear of persecution’ should they be returned to their country of origin and ‘complementary protection’ grounds require that there would be ‘a real risk of significant harm’ if the applicant were to be removed from Australia and sent to a receiving country – usually the country of origin.
In reviewing this application for review the AAT considered the available evidence from the Department of Home Affairs, written submissions from the applicants including written letters from a witness, oral evidence from the applicants and a witness, and country information about Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and about the issues faced by women in Pakistan.
The applicants claimed that they feared persecution primarily due to their family’s strong MQM (Altaf Hussain led London group faction) involvement if they were to be returned to Pakistan. They described instances of threats being made to their lives, harassment and extortion demands. The AAT accepted that the applicants and their family had been associated with MQM, however found that this affiliation had not resulted in the applicants being harmed in the past and there was a remote chance that they would face harm in the future. The applicants also conceded that they were not well known as members of MQM in their local area.
The AAT accepted that the applicants were subject to some extortion attempts on their family business. However, because the business was no longer operating the AAT considered there was a remote chance of further extortion attempts.
The applicants also claimed protection due to fear of harm as single women and having no means to live in Pakistan. However the AAT dismissed these assertions because neither applicant provided specific evidence to support these claims.
Having carefully considered the claims and evidence the AAT was not satisfied that the applicants were persons in respect of whom Australia had protection obligations and affirmed the Department’s decision.
Read the full decision on AustLii .