Bishop should press Rohingyan concerns with Morrison for baby Ferouz

4 July 2014
Lawyers for an Australian-born baby of Rohingyan asylum seekers today called on Australian Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, to raise her concerns regarding human rights abuses in Myanmar with her own Ministerial colleague, Scott Morrison.

“It is well known that the Rohingyan people are an ethnic minority who have suffered extreme persecution at the hands of the Myanmar Government, to the point that they are not even recognised as citizens of Myanmar,” Maurice Blackburn Senior Associate, Murray Watt said.

“The Foreign Minister’s acknowledgement of the plight of the Rohingyan people is very welcome, as is the fact that the Minister has raised the human rights of Rohingyans during her visit to Myanmar.

“Sadly however, her own Cabinet colleague Scott Morrison does not seem to share her concerns.

“For nearly nine months, Australian-born Baby Ferouz has been held in detention, with the rest of his family, who are Rohingyan asylum seekers from Myanmar.

“Ferouz lodged his application for Australian citizenship nearly seven months ago, as he was born in Australia and – as a Rohingyan - he is not entitled to citizenship in Myanmar.

“Yet despite knowing Ferouz and his family cannot ever safely return to Myanmar, Minister Morrison’s Department has refused to make a decision about Ferouz’s application, leaving him languishing behind razor wire.

“If Minister Morrison and his Department will not intervene, then Minister Bishop should.

“It is entirely appropriate that Minister Bishop has raised human rights concerns with the Myanmar President and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi.

“On Ms Bishop’s return to Australia, she should take up those concerns with her own Ministerial colleague, Scott Morrison.

“She should urge Minister Morrison to recognise Ferouz’s statelessness and grant him Australian citizenship and protection without delay.

“Referring to Ferouz’s own family last year, Ms Suu Kyi said the Australian Government’s approach to Rohingyan asylum seekers ‘must be tempered by mercy’.

“It is time Ms Bishop and her ministerial colleagues heeded Ms Suu Kyi’s request, and granted Baby Ferouz the citizenship he deserves.”

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