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Tribunal: Member C Huntly

The AAT remitted a decision of a delegate of the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection (the Department) for reconsideration after finding the applicant and his wife were refugees.  

The applicant and, by association, his wife sought protection based on their high-profile political activism. They claimed their work, acting on behalf of disadvantaged Brazilians, had led to the conviction of a corrupt individual who, driven by revenge within a corrupt judicial system, posed an ongoing threat to their lives. The details of the applicant’s occupation, the organisation they worked for and the person who was convicted were removed from our published decision to protect their identities.

The Department had decided the applicants were not owed protection as they were also permanent residents of Paraguay and had a further option to reside in another country that had granted them a temporary visa. The other country was also removed from our published decision as it was not critical information.

The Department had also formed an adverse view on the applicant’s credibility due to their apparent delay in seeking protection and for having failed to apply for protection earlier in the other country.

Although there was no country information on Brazil from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Tribunal was able to refer to several other independent sources of information from France and the United States. This research showed corruption was one of the biggest impediments to economic development in Brazil, that the country had significant human rights issues and was an extremely lethal place for political activists. Accordingly, the Tribunal accepted the applicants had a well-founded fear of persecution in Brazil for reasons of their political opinion.

The Tribunal also found that being a permanent resident of Paraguay did not mean the applicant could reside there safely. Countries across the entire region were all equally subject to the same agents of harms. Further, the applicants’ current right to enter another country on a temporary visa would expire less than 10 weeks from the date of the Tribunal’s decision and was not a credible alternative.

Read the full decision