AIDS 2014 delegates seek asylum in Australia
A number of delegates attending the AIDS 2014 conference in Melbourne have failed to board their flights and have announced they will be seeking asylum in Australia.
25 delegates from the conference, manly from African nations, made the decision to remain in Australia after the week-long conference concluded on July 25.
Speaking with Fairfax media several of the delegates who come from nations such as Uganda and Nigeria, where there are harsh penalties for homosexuality, feared for their safety if they were to return to their homelands.
One of the men told Fairfax he had been jailed multiple times because of political affinities and another faced racist attacks and violent persecution.
Melbourne refugee support agencies have confirmed they have been contacted by delegates who were seeking asylum.
Heather Holst chief executive of homelessness service HomeGround, told Faifax the organisation was assisting 14 delegates to find and pay for accommodation.
It is not the first occasion delegates from the conference have sought asylum. 2006 over 100 delegates from South Africa sought asylum in Toronto after the AIDS conference concluded.