New UN report shows why baby Ferouz should stay

27 November 2013
Lawyers acting for a family of Burmese asylum seekers said that a new United Nations report further reinforces the need to prevent the family returning to unhealthy conditions on Nauru.

Maurice Blackburn Associate, Murray Watt, said the report, released overnight by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, (UNHCR) condemns conditions on Nauru and Manus Island as unsafe and inhumane.

"This new UN report finds that children on Nauru are being treated harshly, in breach of international law," Mr Watt said.

"The injunction we are seeking attempts to prevent the removal of a three-week old baby and his family, so that they are not kept in these awful conditions.

"This UN report shows exactly why baby Ferouz and his family should not be moved to Nauru.

"The UNHCR states that, due to the harsh environment on Nauru, no child, whether an unaccompanied child or within a family group, should be taken there from Australia.

"The UNHCR notes that children are being held in large, rat-infested tents, with insufficient water and little shelter from the sun.

"It found that children's mental health is deteriorating, and children do not have access to adequate educational and recreational facilities.

"This is no place for a three-week-old baby and his family," Mr Watt said.

The Federal Circuit Court is currently deciding whether it has jurisdiction to hear the injunction application, and will hand down its decision at 3pm this Friday November 29.

If the Court finds it has jurisdiction, arguments for the injunction will then be heard.

Mr Watt said that statements from the Immigration Minister, that the family would not be removed until they had medical clearances, were inadequate.

"The Minister has still not given any commitment that the family will have the chance to present independent medical reports on their health.

"Australian law says the family is entitled to be heard before any decision to remove them is made, and the Minister has not given such a commitment.

"Even when the family is healthy, the Minister has no power to remove baby Ferouz, as he is entitled to apply for Australian citizenship.

"Having been born in Australia, to "stateless" parents, Ferouz is entitled to apply for Australian citizenship and a protection visa.

"If the family is removed, in practical terms, Ferouz would lose the right to have his citizenship application considered.

"That is not fair, and shows why an injunction is needed to stop the family's removal.

Read UNHCR report

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