A Sri Lankan asylum seeker who has lived in WA since arriving illegally by boat in 2012 has been ordered to return back to his home country, despite telling authorities he feared he would be persecuted for his religion, WA Today reported.
The Federal Court of Australia on Friday dismissed the Tamil man’s application to have a previous decision not to grant him a protection visa re-heard.
The man, whose name has been suppressed in court documents, claimed he fled Sri Lanka after his father was shot and killed by the Sri Lankan army and he and his family were captured and beaten by separatist group, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, in 2008.
The Sri Lankan army and LTTE were engaged in civil war from 1983 to 2009.
The man arrived in Australia in August 2012 and applied for a protection visa in May 2013 on the basis of his Tamil ethnicity.
He claimed that prior to his arrival in Australia he had been forced to undergo physical fitness training by the LTTE and, since leaving, Sri Lankan authorities had been looking for him.
A delegate for the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection refused his application in February 2014, saying that he did not accept the Sri Lankan man had suffered discrimination as a Tamil.
In February 2015, a tribunal supported the delegate’s decision, ruling that it was most likely the man’s long-term unemployment that had led him to seek asylum rather than a fear of persecution.
A Federal Court of Australia Judge also upheld this decision in November 2015.
“While the (Tribunal) accepted that Tamils in Sri Lanka continued to face a degree of harassment and discrimination on account of their ethnicity, such as difficulties accessing employment and disproportionate monitoring by security forces, it did not accept that this amounted to denial of their capacity to subsist, serious physical harassment or any other form of serious harm,” Friday’s Federal Court response to the man’s appeal application read.
The man, who represented himself during the proceedings and required an interpreter, applied to have the judgement set aside, arguing that the Tribunal decision did not give enough weight to his father’s death and his capture.
He claimed that although the civil war had officially been declared over in 2009, treatment against Tamils was still “severe”.
If he does return to Sri Lanka, he will likely face a short term of imprisonment for unlawfully leaving the country. (Colombo Gazette)