profession. Since 2009, he has been politically active in promoting and campaigning for the
United National Party. In November and December 2009, he assisted the party in different
tasks, including distributing election materials and decorating the roadside for rallies, and
he attended several meetings in support of a presidential candidate, Sarah Fonseka. In
March 2010, he participated as a member of the party’s youth league and continued
supporting the party by campaigning on behalf of Niroshan Perera in the parliamentary
elections and carrying out various support tasks. While Mr. Perera won a seat in Parliament,
the party remained in opposition. In 2010, the author became a party member because of his
family’s traditional support for the party.
By June 2010, thugs from the winning party, the United People’s Freedom Alliance,
had begun carrying out reprisals against United National Party campaigners. The
complainant’s political involvement with that party and his support of Mr. Perera made him
a target. On an unspecified date in August 2010, a white van with a group of five or six
people reportedly went to his house looking for him while he was at sea, asking his family
where he was and making threats against him. The leader of the group was the son of
Dayasithra Tissera, who had been a successful candidate in the parliamentary elections for
Puttalam District. Mr. Tissera’s son acted as a local political chief of the United People’s
Freedom Alliance operating in that district.
In view of those events, the complainant sought refuge in his uncle’s house in
Rajanganaya, a remote area of the North Western Province, until he left Sri Lanka by boat,
heading for Australia. During that period, he worked on fishing vessels out of Trincomalee
and Negombo, feeling somewhat safer due to the long periods at sea, usually a month at a
time. At the same time, his wife went into hiding in Vavuniya with a nun, for fear that the
people looking for her husband might go to her parents’ house and abduct her. After the
author had moved out of his family home, people from the United People’s Freedom
Alliance reportedly went to the family home looking for him on four or five occasions. In
mid-2011, the complainant learned that members of that party had tried to find out which
boat he was working on. From September 2010 to 26 March 2012, the complainant
continued alternating short periods living in Rajanganaya and monthly periods fishing at
sea. He alleges that one of his colleagues told him that he had been asked about the
complainant’s whereabouts and that there were thugs going after him in Trincomalee.
Nonetheless, the complainant was able to return to his father’s house every two or three
months in order to visit his family and his wife.
In March 2012, the complainant agreed to become a crew member of a boat due to
leave for Australia; his uncle was the organizer of the trip. The complainant was paid 7,500
rupees to crew the ship from Negombo to Beruwala. On 26 March 2012, the boat departed
from Beruwala, heading for Australia, with a total of 99 people on board. The complainant
was not paid for that journey.
On 11 April 2012, he arrived illegally in Australia and was placed in an immigration
detention centre. On 30 June 2012, the complainant applied to the Department of
Immigration, Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship for a Protection (Class A) visa, invoking
the refugee protection obligations of Australia as he risked persecution due to his political
affiliation, Sinhalese ethnicity, religion and the fact that he is a failed asylum seeker.
Moreover, the complainant feared that in the event of his removal to Sri Lanka, he would
be at risk of being charged not only with offences related to leaving Sri Lanka illegally, but
also with people smuggling under article 45 C of the Immigrants and Emigrants Act of Sri
Lanka. Therefore, he feared being held in custody and not being granted bail. However, at
the time of his asylum application in Australia, the complainant did not mention his
involvement as a crew member of the boat that had brought him to Australia for fear of
being charged with smuggling people into Australia. In accordance with section 65 of the
Australian Migration Act 1958, a visa may be granted if the applicant is a non-citizen in
Australia and is eligible for protection under the Convention relating to the Status of
Refugees, as amended by the Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees. On 1 October
2012, the Department rejected the complainant’s application, considering that he did not
meet the criteria for refugee protection. The complainant lodged an appeal with the Refugee
Review Tribunal, which upheld the Department’s decision on 4 December 2012. The
Tribunal found that the author had not been the target of the United People’s Freedom


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