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Asylum seeker’s baby may remain in Australia, says minister

Asylum seeker’s baby may remain in Australia, says minister

SYDNEY: Australia on Sunday was set to allow an asylum-seeker’s baby to remain in the country instead of being deported back to a remote Pacific detention camp, in what refugee advocates claimed as a victory after a public outcry.

Under Canberra’s harsh immigration policy, asylum-seekers attempting to arrive in Australia by boat are sent to camps in Papua New Guinea and Nauru, where they are held indefinitely while their refugees applications are processed.

The one-year-old baby, named Asha and the child of Nepalese asylum-seekers, was held on Nauru with her parents before being brought to the Australian mainland for medical treatment last month.




Asha was due to be sent back to the camp after a court ruling in favour of the government’s offshore immigration detention policy, but the hospital caring for her refused to release the infant until a “suitable home environment is identified”.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said Asha and her parents would be sent to community detention from Brisbane’s Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital.

“We are proposing that baby Asha will come from Lady Cilento and will go into community detention as have, as I say, 83 others who are living in the community who are in Australia for medical assistance,” Dutton told reporters in Brisbane.

Community detention is when asylum-seekers waiting for their refugee applications to be processed live within the community and are usually allowed to move around freely. However they can still be moved or removed by the immigration department at any time.

Published in Dawn, February 22nd, 2016

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