Tasmanian
Refugee
Legal
Service

TRLS addresses an access-to-justice gap that manifests from the unique circumstances of refugees, asylum seekers & other humanitarian entrants into the Tasmanian community.

Stella*

Stella had a well-founded fear of persecution based on her membership of a particular social group with fear of persecution her home country of Zambia.

Stella came to Australia as a 16-year-old child in 2017. Sella had same sex attractions in her country of origin however as a child did not act on those attractions because of her age. Stella is now 21 years of age.

Since she first arrived in Australia her sexual identity has developed in line with her age. She has been able to explore her sexual orientation due to the freedom of Australian laws in line with her own personal development and age and this development of her sexual orientation is consistent with her journey through her adolescent years and now into adulthood. Stella’s sexual orientation is not a choice, it is innate and part of her identity.

TRLS presented her case to the DHA. TRLS submitted that Stella had a well-founded fear of persecution on grounds related to her membership of a particular social group and persecution in the applicant’s home country of Zambia because of her sexual identity as same sex attracted.

We submitted that Stella satisfied the criteria for a Permanent Protection visa under 36(2)(a) of the Act and we submitted that our client satisfied the definition of “refugee” provided under s 5H of the Act and that there is a real chance that the Applicant, if returned to Zambia, would be persecuted for one or more of the Convention Reasons and that such persecution would involve serious harm to the Applicant, including:

b) threats to her life;

c) assault and sexual violence;

d) psychological violence; and

e) detention/imprisonment

TRLS further submitted that this real chance of persecution extended to all areas of Zambia and this real chance of persecution involved systematic and discriminatory conduct and effective state-based protection measures are not available to Stella so as to avoid, prevent or negate this real chance of persecution because the laws in Zambia against homosexuality would result in Stella being sentenced to 14 years in prison, based on the penal code in Zambia against homosexuality, under section 155, 156, 157.

After a 4-hour hearing the Department granted our client permanent protection. This was a significant result for Stella. Stella is now a permanent resident and has been granted permanent protection thanks to the legal work of TRLS.

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