Queer detainee Ali Humayun has been granted permanent residency, more than two years after seeking asylum from Pakistan for fear of anti-gay and anti-Christian persecution.

Immigration officials told Humayun of the news last week in the high security wing of Villawood Detention Centre where he had been held since 2005.

The decision comes two months after Immigration Minister Chris Evans announced he was reviewing 61 long-term detention cases.

Humayun had exhausted all other avenues of appeal since his first application to the Refugee Review Tribunal (RRT) in 2006 was unsuccessful.

The RRT ruling stated Humayun’s homosexual relationship with a Spanish detainee Julio Lorenzo was the result of detention, and he could avoid anti-gay persecution by moving to another part of Pakistan where he would not be known.

Following that ruling, Sydney Star Observer visited the couple in Villawood where Humayun said his father had threatened to kill him for disgracing the family.

Community Action Against Homophobia (CAAH) has been campaigning ever since for Humayun’s release.

Struggle works, CAAH activist Rachel Evans wrote to Humayun’s supporters on Thursday. Activists in CAAH have been campaigning for Ali’s release for over a year. We are very happy. Congratulations to everyone who has supported this campaign.

Last May the RRT gave an undertaking to develop sexuality issues training for its members after Greens Senator Kerry Nettle raised the Humayun decision in Senate hearings.

Two Melbourne rights experts have been asked to assist with the new sexuality training, which is expected to be completed later this year.

The Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby has also been developing material on sexuality and refugee issues.

Senator Evans also announced last week that temporary protection visas were being phased out and replaced with permanent visas.

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