PhD law student assists Rohingya man’s protection visa

By Naomi Neilson|01 June 2020
Rohingya

A Rohingya man’s protection visa has been reinstated with the assistance of the research from a PhD law student, which was quoted extensively in a tribunal decision.

The Department of Immigration sought to cancel the permanent protection visa of a man, whose identity has been redacted, on the basis that he was a citizen of Bangladesh, but student Ashraful Azad’s research implied that a Rohingya in Australia with Bangladeshi passports are likely to have obtained them fraudulently.

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Mr Azad’s report was quoted extensively in the recent Australian Administrative Tribunal case to assess whether the Rohingya man’s Bangladeshi passport was valid. It was ruled having a Bangladeshi passport is not necessarily evidence of Bangladeshi citizenship.

“Even though some Rohingya may have Bangladeshi citizenship or a passport, it is more likely that they would have received it through illegal means,” said Mr Azad. “Theoretically some of them may be eligible for citizenship, for example the ones who are married to a Bangladeshi, or the children who are born in Bangladesh to mixed marriages.

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“But in practice, they are not even given citizenship on that legal basis, so it is more likely that a Rohingya would receive the documentation through a broker or unofficial channel.”

Mr Azad was born in Bangladesh and said his interest in helping the Rohingya started in the UNHCR refugee camps in Bangladesh, where he was working as a research assistant and studying towards his undergraduate degree. In 2011, he worked with UNHCR.

“My role was to go to the camps two or three days every week and help the refugees with their problems, such as family disputes, legal issues or issues with documentation,” said Mr Azad, who continues to publish papers on the Rohingya.

PhD law student assists Rohingya man’s protection visa
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