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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 (the Department) to refuse to grant the applicant a protection visa. The applicant made general claims to fear harm from Hezbollah and pro-Syrian forces as a Sunni and harm due to the economic situation in Lebanon, among other things.

Australia is obliged to protect people who satisfy one of two criteria. The first is called the ‘refugee criterion’ and broadly requires the applicant to have a ‘well-founded fear of persecution’.[1] The second is called ‘complementary protection’ grounds and broadly requires that there is ‘a real risk of significant harm’ to the applicant.[2]

An applicant will suffer significant harm if they will arbitrarily be deprived of their life; or the death penalty will be carried out on them; or they will be subjected to torture; or to cruel or inhuman treatment or punishment; or to degrading treatment or punishment.[3]

The AAT was confined to assessing the applicant’s claims against the complementary protection criterion as he had previously applied for, and was refused, a protection visa on the basis of the refugee criterion.[4]

The AAT considered the applicant’s claims, the evidence presented and referred to country information about Hezbollah and the economic situation in Lebanon, and found the applicant did not face a real risk of significant harm on those bases.

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[1] Migration Act 1958 (Cth), s 36(2)(a) and s 5H.

[2] Migration Act, s 36(2)(aa) and s 36(2A).

[3] Migration Act 1958, s 36(2A). ‘Cruel or inhuman treatment or punishment’, ‘degrading treatment or punishment’ and ‘torture’ are further defined in s 5(1).

[4] SZGIZ v MIAC [2013] FCAFC 71.