Australia, Anita , 4 Nov :Protection visa decision-making will be assisted through the use of new country guidance notes, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) announced today.
“Assessing country conditions is complex,” a departmental spokesman said. “The department has developed new country guidance notes as part of a range of measures to assist in protection decision-making.”
The guidance notes are designed to enhance consistency, rigour and integrity in the use of country information for the individual assessment of each case.
Guidance notes for Afghanistan and Sri Lanka have been finalised following consultation with key stakeholders and notes for other key asylum seeker source countries will follow.
Following a similar model used by the United Kingdom, the guidance notes draw on a wide range of sources of current, relevant, publicly available country information. The notes assist decision-makers to identify relevant and credible country information to investigate the key claims raised by clients.
“The guidance notes form part of a suite of decision-making tools used in conjunction with applicant interviews, the refugee law guidelines, credibility assessment guidelines, the protection visa procedures manual and the refugee status assessment manual,” the spokesman said.
The issues for consideration identified are relevant to real claims made by clients, rely on a balanced and transparent reading of reliable country information and make reference to existing case law, where applicable.
Decision-makers will continue to assess each case individually and make a balanced assessment based on the individual merits of each case, taking into account all relevant considerations.
The notes will be updated regularly to ensure they contain current information on the human rights situation in relevant countries.