Protection visa sought to keep asylum seeker baby in Australia

4 December 2013
In the next round of his fight to stay in Australia, an application for a protection visa has been lodged on behalf of a newborn asylum seeker baby, Maurice Blackburn Lawyers said today.

Maurice Blackburn Associate Murray Watt said the application had been made to the Federal Government today on behalf of baby Ferouz, who was born in Australia four weeks ago, to a family of asylum seekers.

"This is the next step in Ferouz and his family's ongoing fight against his removal to Nauru," Mr Watt said.

"Ferouz's family come from a persecuted minority group in Myanmar that is not recognised as citizens by the Government there.

"For that reason, baby Ferouz is considered stateless and, having been born in Australia, he is entitled to apply for a protection visa.

"Ferouz's family fled violence and forced labour in Myanmar, and will never be able to safely return.

"In these circumstances, Ferouz deserves the protection of the Australian Government and that protection needs to be more than just sending him to Nauru, which is no place for a newborn and his family.

"Just last week the UNHCR declared that conditions on Nauru are inhumane, and that no child should be taken there.

"We believe that the Government's late-night decision to cap the number of protection visas does not preclude Ferouz from submitting an application.

"In fact, Ferouz's application puts a human face on the callous actions of this Government.

"It is also likely that Ferouz will apply for Australian citizenship, and both applications are relevant to the Government's power to take him to Nauru.

"We strongly urge the Federal Government to grant this protection visa for Ferouz, and we will also be seeking protection for his family to ensure they can remain together, as any reasonable person would expect.

"The Federal Government and the Minister have the opportunity at any time to show compassion and humanity to this family and to provide them with this protection - the Minister has the ability to grant a visa at any time under the Migration Act, if he thinks it is in the public interest to do so.

"If they choose not to, then we will continue to fight any efforts to remove Ferouz and his family for as long as it takes," he said.

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