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Rohingya baby born in Australia faces asylum challenge in court

(Photo: AAP)

October 14, 2014

Sydney -- In Brisbane, on October 14, the Federal Court is considering the fate of a baby born in Australia to asylum-seeker parents from Myanmar’s Rohingya minority to determine whether, in the eyes of the law, he arrived in the country by boat.

The baby was born prematurely in the eastern city of Brisbane last year after his mother, from, was transferred from a detention centre on Nauru due to concerns about her pregnancy.

She initially arrived in Australia from Myanmar by sea.

The government rejected the baby's refugee application on the grounds he was an unauthorised maritime arrival. Lawyers are challenging how someone born in an Australian hospital could have arrived by sea.

"This is a ludicrous decision given he was born here in Brisbane's Mater Hospital and he even has a Queensland (state) birth certificate," lawyer Murray Watt said.

Lawyers said the fate of about 100 babies born on Australian soil to asylum-seeker parents who arrived via boat rested on the decision.

Under Canberra's hardline immigration policy, asylum-seekers who arrive on boats are now denied resettlement in Australia and sent to Papua New Guinea or Nauru, even if they are genuine refugees.

Only one boatload of asylum-seekers has reached the Australian mainland since December, compared to almost daily arrivals previously under the Labor administration, with hundreds of people also dying en route.

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