Baby Asha given 72-hour deportation notice assurance: lawyers


A baby at the centre a stand-off between Brisbane hospital staff and the immigration department over her return to Nauru detention will be given 72-hours notice before deportation, her lawyers say.

Outside the Lady Cilento children's hospital in Brisbane, people have kept a constant vigil since Friday - and hundreds have rallied in support of letting the child known as ‘Asha’ and her family stay in Australia.

Lawyer Daniel Webb said the government had given the 72-hour undertaking after an emergency High Court proceeding on the family's behalf was filed by the Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC).

“We made repeated requests for the government to agree to at least provide reasonable notice if it planned to deport this child, but they refused. We were left with no choice but to file an urgent case in the High Court,” said Mr Webb, HRLC Director of Legal Advocacy.

Baby ‘Asha’ is recovering well from burn wounds, but her treating doctors refuse to discharge the infant until a “suitable home environment is identified”.

Video of the infant apparently taken on Nauru shows ‘Asha’ asleep in what appears to be a tent with dark stains on the ceiling and electrical cables hanging by string from the wall.

Natasha Blucher from Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network visited the mother and child in hospital today.

“She’s a chubby, happy baby and appears to be doing well,” said Ms Blucher.

“The hospital is really supportive, [and has] made the family feel really safe, they feel very supported in that environment.”

Last month, ‘Asha’ was returned to Australia from Nauru along with her mother and father, after being burned by boiling water.

’Asha’ arrived just before the High Court earlier this month threw out a challenge to the legality of Australia’s off-shore detention system.

Hundreds of asylum seekers in Australia now face being returned to Nauru.

Last year, ‘Asha’ was the first baby born in detention in Australia to be transferred to Nauru - after amendments to the Migration Act in December 2014.

Those born before the amendments were passed could stay. Born in January 2015, ’Asha’ was sent off-shore in June.

“The last time I saw her she was three-months-old and off to Nauru. It was good to see Asha and she’s walking now,” said Ms Blucher.

Asha’s mother is at her bedside and her father in the Brisbane Immigration Transit Accommodation (BITA) detention facility in Pinkenba, by the airport.

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