HOW AUSTRALIA IS ABLE TO PROTECT GAY REFUGEES


By Emma Drynan

Imagine your family’s life is at risk because of who you are. You are unable to return to the street you grew up in as your very presence in the neighbourhood could result in you and your family being killed. At best the knowledge of your return and who you are would result in the neighbours out casting your family from the community; shunning them and verbally assaulting them from the street as your family leaves the house each day.

This is the reality for Mohammad, a young man who fled his home country Afghanistan for fear knowledge of his sexuality would get out and result in his family’s life being ruined forever or worse still for fear their lives would be taken.

Before fleeing Afghanistan Mohammad was in the most forbidden of all relationships. Not only was he in a relationship with another man but the man he loved was from a different ethnic group and a different religion. In Afghanistan and many countries around the world relationships between people from another ethnic group, community or religion are culturally unacceptable. Relationships between same sex couples are illegal and punishable by death if you’re found guilty by the authorities. For most young men suspected or found to be in a same sex relationship the most likely outcome is the locals will kill you before your existence is brought to the attention of the authorities.

Now settled in Australia, protected under our refugee program, Mohammad will never be able to return to his country again. For the sake of protecting his family he left after a local elder questioned him about the ‘friendship’ he had with a man from another ethnic group, that man was Mohammad’s long term partner Parim. The thought of never returning to his home again is heartbreaking for Mohammad, but Mohammad takes comfort in knowing he is safe in Australia and has peace of mind knowing his family are free from harm.
Unfortunately Mohammad’s story is not uncommon. Australia has a migration program that allows for protection of people who are at risk of being harmed or persecuted in their home country because of their sexuality. If you or someone you know is in these circumstances contact a Registered Migration Agent for advice about visa options to keep you safe in Australia.

Emma Drynan writes courtesy of FreedomMigration, an agency which specialise in visas to help couples and individuals. For more information go to www.freedommigration.com

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