Urgent injunction sought to stop deportation of baby

22 November 2013
Leading social justice law firm Maurice Blackburn will today seek an urgent court order to stop the Federal Government from taking a newborn child and his family to Nauru.

Maurice Blackburn Associate Murray Watt said the application was an important test case on the ability of the Government to take asylum seekers offshore without consideration of the impacts on their health.

"The family of Burmese asylum seekers - a married couple with children aged 7, 4, and a two week old baby - are understandably terrified that they could be taken to Nauru at any time," Mr Watt said.

"The application is based on an important principle of Australian law - when a government is making a decision that affects a person's rights, that person has a right to be heard.

"In our view, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection must give baby Farus and his family that right before making any decision on whether to remove them to Nauru.

"Specifically, we argue that the Department must give Farus and his family the chance to present medical reports regarding the likely impact of removal to Nauru on their health.

"Farus, his mother Latifar and their family have already been mistreated by the Government, with restrictions placed on the family's ability to visit him in hospital in the days following his birth.

"Fortunately, his family has now been reunited in the Brisbane Immigration Transit Accommodation.

"However, Farus is barely two weeks old, he remains weak and has trouble breastfeeding.

"His mother Latifar is also still recovering from a caesarean birth and suffers from diabetes.

"Despite this, the family have been told they could be taken to Nauru at any time.

"This is consistent with past practice, where other asylum seekers with severe health problems have been removed to Nauru, literally in the middle of the night.

"Farus and Latifar were receiving appropriate and high quality medical care here in Brisbane. The harsh conditions of Nauru are not the right place for a sick newborn and his family.

"Due to concerns for their welfare, we sought an urgent commitment from the Department that it would not remove the family, without at least giving them the chance to present medical reports.

"Unfortunately the Department has refused to give that commitment.

"In these circumstances, the family has no choice but to seek an urgent court order preventing their removal.

"The treatment of Farus and his family has appalled many Australians, and their case calls into question the entire practice of detaining children offshore," he said.

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