High Court action commenced to stop Australian-born baby being sent to Nauru

21 February 2014
Documents will today be filed in the High Court in the next round of a legal fight to stop the Federal Government taking an Australian-born baby and his family to Nauru.

Maurice Blackburn Associate Murray Watt said documents would be filed today on behalf of baby Ferouz, who was born in Australia last year to parents who had fled persecution by the brutal military government in Myanmar.

In late January an application for a protection visa for Ferouz was deemed invalid by the Federal Government. Mr Watt said documents would now be filed in the High Court seeking to have that decision quashed.

"Ferouz's family have already had to endure more than any family should," Mr Watt said.

"He was separated from his mother whilst still in hospital as a newborn, and last year we were forced to take urgent legal action to stop the Government taking Ferouz and his family to Nauru just after his release from hospital.

"As a result of our legal action, the Government agreed to give Ferouz and his family a fair hearing before making any decision to transfer them to Nauru, but now they've deemed Ferouz's application for a protection visa to be invalid.

"The Government considers Ferouz to be an Unauthorised Maritime Arrival (UMA) when that is simply not the case - he was born in Australia and he even has a Queensland birth certificate.

"Our High Court application will seek a ruling that, having been born in Australia, Ferouz is not a UMA, and is therefore entitled to apply for protection in Australia.

"This is an important test case that will potentially affect the rights of all babies born to asylum seekers in Australia.

"It is crystal clear that Ferouz's family are stateless - they come from a persecuted minority group in Myanmar, their government does not consider them citizens and they are unable to return or live there safely.

"This case has repeatedly called into question the practice of detaining children offshore, in conditions the United Nations has labelled "inhumane".

"The Federal Government has always had the option under the law to step in and do the right thing by Ferouz and his family.

"That option remains, however if the Government refuses to take it then we will continue to fight this, pro-bono, for as long as it takes for this family," he said.

Media alert - doorstop opportunity

What: Maurice Blackburn will today file documents in the High Court on behalf of baby Ferouz and his family in a bid to have Ferouz's protection visa application upheld.

Doorstop opportunity outside court following filing of documents.

Where: High Court of Australia - forecourt space
Commonwealth Law Courts Building
119 North Quay, Brisbane

When: 10:30am local time, TODAY, Friday 21 February 2014

Contact: Jade Thompson, Maurice Blackburn on 0417 969 438


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