consideration by the Committee. The State party, however, expelled the complainant
the same day without having had time to consider the request.
The facts as submitted by the complainant:
On 27 November 1997, the complainant, who held a visitors visa, visited
Mecca in Saudi Arabia. He stayed there for 7 months. He then “purchased” an
Australian visa and left for South Africa, to collect the Australian visa.
On 21 August 1998, the complainant arrived in Australia from South Africa.
He destroyed his travel documents at the airport of arrival. He immediately applied
for refugee status at the airport, where he was interviewed by an officer of the
Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (DIMA). As undocumented
arrival, he was refused immigration clearance under s172 of the Australian
Immigration Act. On the same day, he was detained and escorted to Westbridge
Immigration Detention Centre.
On 26 August 1998, the complainant applied for a Protection Visa. He was
assisted by a solicitor from the Legal Aid Commission of New South Wales. On 16
October 1998, his application was rejected by DIMA. On 16 October 1998, he
appealed to the Refugee Review Tribunal. The appeal was rejected on 11 November
1998. He further appealed to the Federal Court of Australia, which dismissed his
appeal on 10 March 1999.
The complainant did not appeal the decision of the Federal Court of Australia
to the Full Federal Court because his representatives were of the view that, in light of
the narrow grounds of review available in the Federal Court, an appeal did not have
any prospect of success and therefore did not fall within the guidelines which
determine whether legal aid can be granted. He alleges that without legal aid it would
had been likely that he would have been unrepresented in his appeal.
The complainant sent three subsequent appeals to the Minister of Immigration
and Multicultural Affairs on 17 March 1999, 6 July 1999, and 26 August 1999. He
requested the Minister exercise his discretion and allow him to stay in Australia on
humanitarian grounds. The Minister declined to exercise his discretion in an undated
letter received by counsel on 22 July 1999, and a further letter dated 23 August 1999.
The Minister’s decision was not subject to appeal. On 29 October 1999, an
immigration agent from the South Brisbane Immigration and Community Legal
Service appealed to the Minister asking to allow the complainant to remain in
Australia on humanitarian grounds; the director of Amnesty International Australia
also submitted a letter, requesting that the complainant would not be returned “in the
The complainant and another two asylum seekers thereupon started a hunger
strike in September 1999. On 8 October 1999, they were removed from Westbridge.
They were denied the opportunity to consult with their legal advisors and were not
permitted to pack their own belongings. On 16 October 1999, they submitted a
complaint to the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs.