June 1 – KoKo

My name is Ko Ko Aung, I am an undergraduate student from UNSW and have been working as a volunteer paralegal at HALC for two months. I am excited about how much I can learn from the place and astounded with their work; where I come from, there is little or no legal support for people living with HIV.

Before I started I was warned that the work load was high, as days go by at the office, the amount of people that HALC has to provide legal service to is really over the top. During these two months, cases that I have dealt with, or I am dealing are mostly immigration and superannuation with a bit of criminal and wills/estate planning.

One of the significant cases that I would like to share is about Ricki* who has a fear of being persecuted on his return to his country of origin, China, due to his HIV status and homosexuality. If he returns, he will have limited access to treatment and be subject to severe stigma and discrimination. To make matters worse, although he has a good case and should have been successful in a protection visa application, he got dodgy advice and assistance elsewhere by a migration agent that took advantage of him, this resulted in a refusal of his protection visa and no appeal options. His options are now very limited but we are fighting for him.

Right now, we representing him in requesting the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection to lift the bar and allow him to make another protection visa. Sounds challenging but he’s lucky because his case is now handled by talented, amazing and experienced HALC lawyers. Yeah, lucky for me too – since it’s a privilege to be part of this team!!!!

#leavenoonebehind #letthemstay #UNSW

*names of clients have been changed to respect and protect their confidentiality

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