Babies born in detention are taking the federal government to court. Meanwhile, being locked up is making their parents dangerously ill, writes Peter Mares. Read the full story.
Last minute legal action is underway in an effort to prevent the government form removing a pregnant Iranian woman from being returned to Nauru. She has been told she will be returned as soon as Sunday.
The 31 year-old woman, who is 28 weeks pregnant was brought to Brisbane after being struck in the stomach by a soccer ball a couple of weeks ago
“It says volumes about the lack of adequate medical services on Nauru that she had to be brought to Brisbane in the first place. Why is the government trying to send a pregnant woman, only a few weeks from giving birth, back to a place that is so badly resourced,” asked Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.
“The lack of facilities is also obvious because of the number of pregnant women that are being sent off Nauru. There are at least four pregnant women in the Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation and another in Brisbane detention.
“The conditions on Nauru are not fit for new-born babies. The extreme heat, the lack of water, the unhygienic conditions, are shocking for everyone. It is a disgrace that the government would inflict such third world conditions on new mothers and babies that are under the care of the Australian government. It is a form of child abuse.
“The family is a victim of Morrison’s efforts to make a political example of pregnant women. Her pregnancy was confirmed on Christmas Island only days before being sent to Nauru around a month ago. She was only on Nauru 10 days before she was hit by the soccer ball.
“We are calling on the Immigration Minister to intervene to prevent this woman being sent back to Nauru and to immediately declare a halt to any further transfers of pregnant women.”
Misha Coleman, Executive Officer of the ACRT, speaks to reporter Eddie Williams about a Burmese asylum seeker who has been separated from her newborn baby.
Today, Baby Farus is 21 days old, having been born prematurely at 37.5 weeks in Brisbane.
The Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce have teamed up with Maurice Blackburn legal firm, who are representing this family on a pro bono basis, to argue against the deportation by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection of this newborn baby and his family back to Nauru.
In court yesterday, the Federal Government argued that the case couldn’t be heard in Brisbane, but Judge Cassidy wasn’t necessarily convinced, and the case will come back into the Brisbane Circuit Court this Friday 29th November at 3pm
Executive Officer of the Taskforce, Misha Coleman, spent time with the family in the Brisbane Detention Centre on Monday and was in court yesterday. She made the following points at a press conference yesterday:
- The Churches Refugee Taskforce is INDEED pushing an agenda. We are talking anout a baby’s health and not jeopardising his chances of survival. There must be be some degree of flexibility of the system that goes beyond tough. The Taskforce is appealing to the decency and humanity of ALL members of parliament to protect these babies, mothers and children.
- We also need to pray for those guards and staff who work in these camps – how difficult it must be, especially for those guards who are parent themselves, to lock up babies, their mothers, and children?
- In a policy sense, the birth of a child is being treated as a way of rorting the system – like some sort of illegal migration pathway. That is offensive. This baby’s parents have done what any loving couple would do. Bring a new life into the world. Let’s be clear: it IS perfectly legal to seek asylum in Australia.
- If we as a nation turn a blind eye to what’s going on in detention centres, we as a nation will be complicit. The appalling treatment of these children may well be the subject of another Royal Commission in years to come, and the shame is something we will all have to bear.
- The contractors managing these centres no longer have to report the birth of a baby to the department, the Government nor the public. As Christians we can’t ignore the birth of a baby. To not record a baby’s birth is to officially deny their existence. We don’t believe any fair-minded Australians would see that as acceptable.
- These guidelines take us back to the days of the Woomera detention centre, which is now closed. 50 babies were born in that centre and the government of the day considered those babies “unlawful”
- At this rate, in 2040, our Parliament will need to say sorry to another group of people that we, as a nation, treated appallingly in the name of border protection.
From the Radio Australia website: Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has defended limiting an asylum seeker’s contact with her sick newborn, saying the baby is in hospital and it is “common practice” for mothers not to stay overnight. (By chief political correspondent Emma Griffiths and Kim Lyell).
Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has defended limiting an asylum seeker’s contact with her sick newborn, saying the baby is in hospital and it is “common practice” for mothers not to stay overnight.
The Rohingya woman from Myanmar gave birth by caesarean section last week to a baby boy who has since been kept in special care at Brisbane’s Mater Hospital.
However, Fairfax news reports say the 31-year-old mother, called Latifa, was moved back into detention on Sunday, when her sick baby was just four days old.