My name is Michael, and during my time as a volunteer paralegal with HALC, I had the privilege of working with Nadir*, an Iranian man with HIV, who was juggling both an application for a protection visa, and an unwanted insurance matter.
Nadir told me that although he was involved in a fatal traffic accident many years ago, the police had cleared him of any culpability. However, despite this finding of complete innocence, the claimants instigated new proceedings in late 2015, which included an interview with a private investigative company. Nadir told me that he was extremely distressed by the interview due to his sadness in being forced to recall the events, the memories that this evoked due to the trauma authorities in Iran had subjected him to and his worry about how this might affect his visa application.
He had told me that living in Iran he was frequently denied access to treatment for HIV and was forced to buy the treatment on the black market, he was also subject to severe stigma and discrimination due to his HIV status. By the time Nadir arrived on Christmas Island by boat his CD4 count was so bad that he was near death.
Once the interview was finished, Nadir thanked me, the interpreter and the interviewer around 20 times each. He also insisted on showing me photos of his work as a panel beater, and explained why he believed it was the best job in the world, which instantly brought a broad smile to his face.
Although Nadir is waiting on an outcome for both matters, I know that he is receiving the best possible legal advice and support. HALC makes a real difference to people’s lives, ensuring that people like Nadir can stay in Australia and attain proper medication for their HIV condition. My time at HALC was an amazing experience that I will never forget, and that is why I encourage everyone to please donate to make sure that we LEAVE NO-ONE BEHIND!!!
* names of clients have been changed to respect and protect their confidentiality.
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