Villawood 4c - A Fear of Persecution


A Fear of Persecution

Josefa Rauluni had stated that he had been active in the Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement (FDFM) and was fearful of what he could face if returned. He insisted that he needed to remain in Australia until after the Fijian election and indicated that if he was sent back he would face seven years in jail under the current regime.

Mr Rauluni first arrived in Australia on a three month Tourist Visa in November 2008. He applied for a protection visa in early March 2009 and made various attempts to extend his visa in Australia. His application for protection was refused in August 2009, he was subsequently issued successive Bridging Visas while he appealed the decision in the Refugee Review Tribunal (RRT).

Deposed Fijian Prime Minister Laisenia Qarese, who had been Prime Minister from 2000 until he was ousted by military leader Frank Bainimarama in 2006,  reportedly pleaded with Australian authorities to grant Josefa Rauluni asylum. In a letter submitted to the RRT, Mr Qarase stated ‘Under the current circumstances in Fiji, Mr Rauluni runs the risk of been taken in by the regime if he returns.’ Despite this, the RRT confirmed its original negative decision.



‘…[Mr Rauluni] mentioned that he, that the only way he can – he will go back to his country is to send his dead body back to Fiji in a box.’

Felix Faisal Edian (Client Service Manager)

On the day of his death, Josefa Rauluni gave documents to Villawood’s Client Service Manager which described a method of torture being used in Fiji. In her evidence, one of the Serco officers, Ms Aiono-Laga, stated that Mr Rauluni was saying, ‘I’ll jump if you try and make me go, don’t you know what’s going on in Fiji, I can’t go back there.’

In March 2011, Amnesty International were calling for urgent action to stop the arbitrary detention, torture and other ill-treatment of human rights and democracy activists in Fiji. Human rights violations in the country had been documented since the military coup in 2006. By the end of 2009 there were allegations of several men being detained for distributing political material critical of the government. A report by Amnesty International, ‘Beating Justice: How Fiji’s Security Forces Get Away with Torture‘, published in December 2016, details how case of torture and ill-treatment remain ongoing.



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