June 23 – Melissa

I’m constantly amazed and inspired by the resilience of our clients, and I’m humbled to be able to assist people in such need. It’s challenging but rewarding work, that’s why I’ve been at HALC for 8 years, starting as a volunteer, and currently as Co-Principal Solicitor.

As part of World Refugee Week, this is Amal’s story.

  • Imagine that your country of birth, your only home, has a law that excludes your ethnic group from citizenship;
  • Imagine having no identity documents, no way to prove who you are or where you are from;
  • Imagine having no rights to work, study or to travel within or outside your country;
  • Imagine facing the fear of ongoing violence and being killed just because you want to practice your religion.

This is what Amal, a young, stateless Rohingyan man faced in Burma.

Amal, with his parents and siblings fled Burma for safety in Saudi Arabia, where they lived on long term working visas. Amal hoped to stay there, but it was not to be.

Every two years, all migrants in Saudi Arabia must have compulsory medicals. Amal was diagnosed with HIV in 2012 and was immediately put into a locked hospital room. He received no treatment, and after 2 weeks, he was escorted to the airport by 3 government officials and told that he was being deported because of his HIV diagnosis.

Amal was stateless, with no right to live in any other country: a deal had been struck to deport him to Bangladesh. Sick, and weighing only 43kgs, he arrived in Bangladesh, with no access to medical treatment and too sick to care for himself.

His family sent him some money from Saudi Arabia, but had no idea why he had been deported. He had no right to live or work in Bangladesh. Desperate, he heard about a boat travelling to Australia, and thought “I would rather die trying to get to a country that will help me, than stay here and die of this sickness”. He understood HIV to be a death sentence.

He made it to Christmas Island, just before the government started sending asylum seekers who arrived by boat to PNG. He lived in detention for 4 months in Darwin. When he was released from detention into the community, he came to Sydney and we have assisted him to lodge an application for a Temporary Protection Visa; because he arrived by boat he cannot apply for any permanent visa.  His case is complicated by the fact that he has no identity documents that we take for granted; and cannot obtain any. We will work with Amal until he gets an outcome.

Help us to continue to help vulnerable clients, donate to our annual funding campaign below:

‘Leave No One Behind’ Campaign


June 22 – Eileen

My name is Eileen and I’m a volunteer solicitor at HALC. I first began my PLT at HALC and stayed on because I felt compelled to continue fighting for my clients’ cause.

My first couple of weeks at HALC were a big eye opener. There was one particular story that stood out to me…that was Raj’s* story.

Raj came to Australia in 2006 on a student visa. He had big dreams. He fell in love with Barry, but sadly their relationship ended when Raj was diagnosed with HIV.

Raj sought our help because he knew his HIV diagnosis would adversely impact upon his chances of permanent migration to Australia.

HALC’s solicitor, Alex, acted quickly in linking Raj up with various social and medical support services in an effort to rehabilitate him back to health.

I later found out in a psychological assessment that Raj had suffered trauma since childhood. He had been a victim of child sexual abuse by a relative, he had history of family suicides and was imprisoned and tortured by his family due to his homosexuality.

Alex recommended that Raj apply for a Protection Visa due to his fears of returning to India where he would ultimately be subject to serious harm because of his HIV status and sexuality.

Although we are waiting for a determination from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, I know Raj is in safe hands.

HALC is not just about helping people with their legal issues, it’s about saving their lives. This is part and parcel of the reason why I WANT TO LEAVE NO ONE BEHIND. You can help by making a donation, every dollar counts.

Help us to continue to help vulnerable clients, donate to our annual funding campaign below:

‘Leave No One Behind’ Campaign


June 21 – Chase

I am proud to be able to play a part in ensuring that Patrick is not left behind.

When I met Patrick, he explained to me that being gay in China has always been hard but it gets even harder as he gets older and there is more pressure to marry a woman. He says his friends would not hang out with him anymore because being over 30 and single they think there is something wrong with him. The last time he was in China Patrick’s parents tried to force him to marry a woman. He was completely unable to express himself as a gay man, and kept his sexuality a secret.

Patrick was very happy when he came to Australia and fell in love with Mark, and developed friends that knew of and supported their relationship. However after a short time Mark became very controlling and the relationship broke down. Around that time Patrick was diagnosed with HIV, and required psychological support to cope with the shock of the diagnosis.

Patrick is now terrified of returning to China. He fears he won’t find a job in China because many employers require regular medical checks, including HIV tests and refuse to hire HIV positive persons. He will be ostracised by family and friends due to stigma and discrimination in his small, rural village. Patrick told me about another village near his home where people with HIV are sent to live in prison-like conditions. If Patrick gets sick in China he wouldn’t go the doctor for fear they might send him to that “AIDS Village.”

Help us to continue to help vulnerable clients, donate to our annual funding campaign below:

‘Leave No One Behind’ Campaign