Around 25 African delegates who attended the recent 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne haven’t yet left Australia and plan to apply for asylum.
According to Radio Australia, the delegates are currently staying in crisis accommodation.
The conference, which ended on 25 July, saw some 12,000 delegates from 200 countries taking part.
It’s unclear if any of the delegates who remained behind will apply for asylum on the basis of fearing being persecuted because of their sexual orientation.
Pamela Curr, from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) told Radio Australia: “Clearly they are delegates that come from countries where to work in the AIDS field is a life-threatening proposition.”
“It seems that some of them have been considering whether they think they can survive in their countries of origin, or whether they should try to survive by getting refugee protection in Australia.”
Homosexuality is illegal in 37 African countries. Those found guilty can face severe penalties, including in some case life imprisonment and even the death penalty.