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21 February 2020

Successful immigration appeal based on threats

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We recently acted for a client who faced a risk of harm if he returned to his home country of Fiji.

The facts are important and are summarised to give context to the Tribunal's decision. 

While our client was in Fiji, he was engaged to marry a local woman.  Several years after moving to New Zealand, he decided to cancel the engagement.  He began a romantic relationship with somebody else.

This angered the woman’s family, as it was seen to bring shame on them within the community. Our client’s parents were also upset and embarrassed.

Approximately two years later, our client’s former fiancée in Fiji was married to somebody else.

At some point during this time, it became known within the community that our client had had a sexual relationship with his former fiancée.  To engage in a sexual relationship outside of marriage is strongly frowned upon in conservative Fijian society.  Dating relationships are not permitted and marriages are often arranged by parents.

Our client’s former fiancée and her husband began to have relationship problems.  One night, the couple slept in separate rooms.  The woman’s father-in-law, who lived with them, noticed this and went through the woman’s text messages to discover what was going on.  He noticed some texts between the woman and our client.  Our client had contacted the woman to determine whether he would be safe if required to return to Fiji (as he was facing deportation).  As a result, the woman confessed to the fact that she had engaged in a sexual relationship with our client.

The woman’s father-in-law was furious.  He believed that our client had brought dishonour to his family and was threatening the marriage between the woman and his son.  Accordingly, he threatened to harm or kill our client should he return to Fiji.

The Tribunal determined that our client is a protected person under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

Reporter, John Weekes, wrote an article on the decision. To view the article, please visit: 

If you face difficulties on returning to your home country, it is important that you seek specialised legal advice. 

Our immigration lawyers specialise in refugee and immigration appeal cases.  Please contact one of our lawyers.


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