Sunday, February 21, 2016

Australia relents over mother and child deportation

Protesters outside Brisbane's Lady Cilento Children's Hospital, 21 February

The Australian government has announced that a baby being treated for burns in a Brisbane hospital will not be sent back to an asylum seekers' detention camp on the Pacific island of Nauru.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said the one-year-old girl known as Asha and her mother would be released into community detention in Australia.
Protesters blockaded the hospital to prevent the child being removed.
Australia's policy on asylum seekers has been widely criticised.
Previously, the government said it would stand firm on its asylum seeker policy amid the protests over the child's impending deportation to Nauru.
It argues that its offshore detention policy is necessary, and aimed at preventing asylum seekers trying to reach Australia on unseaworthy boats.
Australia's High Court upheld Australia's asylum policy as legal under the country's constitution in a decision handed down at the beginning of February.
Grey line

Australia and asylum

The Pacific island of NauruImage copyrightAFP
Image captionThe island nation of Nauru holds migrants while Australia processes their asylum claims
  • The number of asylum seekers travelling to Australia by boat rose sharply in 2012 and early 2013. Scores of people have died making the journey.
  • To stop the influx, the government adopted tough measures intended as a deterrent
  • Everyone who arrives is detained. Under a new policy, they are processed in Nauru and Papua New Guinea. Those found to be refugees will be resettled in PNG, Nauru or Cambodia
  • The government has also adopted a policy of tow-backs, or turning boats around

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