• Refugee case: Sri Lanka

  • Background

    This client applied for a protection visa based on his fear of persecution in Sri Lanka.  Our client had been caught between two warring sides in a civil war in Sri Lanka.  As an ethnic Tamil he and his family had suffered a great deal of persecution including being beaten and having their house burnt down.  He was told to fight with the LTTE “Tamil Tigers” which he refused to do and was therefore detained on a number of occasions by the Tamil rebels.  At the same time he was suspected by the Sri Lankan Government of being involved with the Tamil rebels.  He had been detained and tortured by them on a number of occasions.  He was eventually able to escape Sri Lanka and made his way to Australia with a student visa. He subsequently applied for a protection visa, which Immigration refused.

    Our involvement

    We were instructed by our client to represent him in an appeal against that decision at the Refugee Review Tribunal. We thoroughly researched the background of the case and submitted detailed written submissions and evidence which explained and strengthened our client’s case.

    For example, one of the most crucial points in this case was regarding whether a factory that our client had worked in had closed down as our client alleged.  Immigration had found a listing for the factory in a Sri Lankan phonebook and therefore argued that it had never closed down and therefore our client must have been lying.  Had this point not been convincingly addressed it may have been fatal to his credibility.  We however were able to counter this point by submitting a Sri Lankan newspaper article referring to the factory closing down the year that our client said it had.  This was just one of several items of evidence which we submitted along with our written submissions.

    In the end our client was found to be credible and it was held that he was in fact a refugee.  This enabled him to take up permanent residence.