Myanmar asylum seeker family wins stay against Nauru deportation
|Latifa, an asylum seeker from Myanmar, in Brisbane earlier this month after giving birth.|
By ABC News
November 23, 2013
A refugee family with a sick newborn baby has won a temporary order blocking their deportation to Nauru, in what is seen as a test case for the Federal Government.
The family from Myanmar was transferred from Nauru to Brisbane last month, when the mother - a Rohingyan woman named Latifa - encountered complications with her pregnancy.
The baby was delivered by caesarean two-weeks ago and has suffered respiratory problems and feeding difficulties.
The parents' plight brought about headlines when they were denied access to the newborn while it was in neonatal care.
The couple has two other children, aged four and seven.
Queensland lawyer Murray Watt is representing the family pro bono in a Federal Court in Brisbane.
He says it is a test case on whether the Government can send asylum seekers offshore without considering the impacts on their health.
"Our view is that Nauru is no place for newborn children or this mother who has just given birth," he said.
"When a government is making a decision that affects you, you should have a right to be heard.
"This baby and his family have been threatened to be taken to Nauru without getting that chance - we don't think that is fair."
The matter will be heard again in court on Tuesday.
"[The family] are understandably terrified that they could be taken to Nauru at any time," Mr Watt said.
"That family should have the opportunity to put forward evidence about what the impact on their health will be if they are taken to Nauru.
"We will be going back in to seek a more permanent order from the court preventing the Government from removing this family."
The Immigration Minister has previously indicated any decision to transfer would be based on obtaining medical clearance.
'If we go back they may die'
Earlier, the mother said she was sent to Australia on her own and asked the doctors to recommend that her husband and two other children also be moved with her.
The woman says that three days later her husband and children, who are seven and four, arrived in Australia.
Now that she has given birth she is asking the Immigration Department not to send her and her family back to Nauru.
"We don't think the kids will survive if they're returned to Nauru," she said through a translator.
"Even the seven-year-old and four-year-old, they were always crying and they don't eat the food and they found it very difficult.
"Now with the newborn baby if we go back there it's possible they will die."