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Tribunal: Senior Member D Dragovic

The AAT affirmed the decision of a delegate of the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection refusing to grant the applicant a protection visa. The Tribunal was not satisfied that, on return to Ethiopia, there was a real chance the applicant would face serious harm or a real risk she would face significant harm.

The applicant claimed to fear harm based on her gender, ethnicity, imputed political opinions and former occupation as a journalist, amongst other things.

While the Tribunal accepted there was evidence of gender-based violence against women in Ethiopia, it was not satisfied that if forced to return, the applicant would be placed into a situation where she would face a real chance of serious harm or a real risk of significant harm on that basis.

The Tribunal relied on the Ethiopian Demographic and Health Survey, provided by the applicant, which showed women who had never been married experience a substantially lower incidence of violence than married women. The Tribunal found the category ‘never married’ best fitted the applicant as she had not been exposed to the actions of a partner in the context of living in Ethiopia under its jurisdiction and culture, and would not be in a relationship in the foreseeable future, because her current partner was in Australia.

While the Tribunal acknowledged inter-ethnic violence had occurred in the past, current country information showed fundamental changes had happened in the political system in Ethiopia over the last two years. Consequently, the Tribunal found the applicant’s Oromo ethnicity and perceived association with the political organisation, the Oromo Liberation Front, would not put her at a real chance of facing serious harm or a real risk of significant harm in the foreseeable future.

The applicant’s verbal evidence that her work as a journalist would lead to her being imprisoned, was given little weight as international sources, including a recent Reporters Without Borders article and Human Rights Watch report, were found to be more credible. The country information in these sources, with respect to journalists, was that for the first time in more than 15 years, none were being held in prison in connection with their work. Consequently, the Tribunal found that she did not meet either criterion with respect to this claim.

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