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Gay Muslim Indian man granted refugee status in Australia

A gay Muslim man from India has successfully sought asylum in Australia after a tribunal reversed an Australian Department of Immigration decision that had found he was not a victim of persecution
Hyderabad's Mecca Masjid mosque
Photo by Arvin Vindu

A gay Muslim man fleeing an arranged marriage and homophobic relatives in India has been found to be a genuine refugee and granted asylum by Australia’s Refugee Review Tribunal.

The tribunal is an appeals body that can overturn decisions about a person’s eligibility to claim asylum by the Australian Government’s Department of Immigration.

The Department of Immigration accepted that the unnamed man was gay in July of 2012 but suggested he could avoid persecution by simply moving from his home city of Hyderabad and relocating to another city.

The man originally came to Australia on a student visa and soon began a relationship with another man but dropped out of a diploma of business management course after six months.

He returned to India to visit his family in 2011 but his family had become suspicious about his sexuality and his father locked him in a room and demanded he enter into an arranged marriage.

He says during this time he was assaulted by a group of his cousins who held a knife to his throat who demanded that he stop being gay and also that an Islamic cleric threatened him with reprisal if he did not change his sexuality.

The Refugee Tribunal ruled that if the man returned to India it was ‘reasonable to believe he would be assaulted and probably forced to marry, and if he were to refuse he would probably face more serious harm and be killed.’

‘If the applicant were to return and try to relocate this would result in his being disowned by his family and probably they would seek to find and harm him,’ the tribunal found.

‘I also accept that he would not be able to live openly as a homosexual in India at any location, as if he did this would result in ostracism and probable further significant harm.’

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