A hospital in Australia is refusing to return a baby to her refugee parents at a detention center in Nauru. The decision to keep the baby comes amid increased protests to halt the Syrian refugee processing at camps on offshore islands in both Nauru and Papua New Guinea.
Australian officials have cited Homeland Security concerns for the stringent immigration policies and response to he refugees attempting to reach the country by boat. The immigrants have been refused permission to resettle inside the nation’s borders even if they are believed to be Syrian refugees.
Fears that ISIS fighters have hidden among the throngs of refugees fleeing the Middle East have caused concern for many governments and became the focal point of the 2016 presidential election in the United States. GOP frontrunner Donald Trump was deemed a racist by some after he suggested a temporary ban on all Muslim immigrants until the federal government could heed the FBI warning that the current background checking system could not properly vet immigrants and refugees from the region.
— CNN (@CNN) February 15, 2016
The decision by the Australia hospital to keep the baby occurred about the same time as a high court ruling dictated the return of 267 refugees to the holding facilities, MSN notes. Over the weekend, activists staged a protest both on land and on water. Amnesty International, ActioAdi, Greenpeace, and GetUp! groups banded together and registered their angst about government leaders turning away the Syrian refugees.
The group held a banner which said #LetThemStay and dangled it between two rafts in Sydney harbor. The protesters were upset that refugees about to be deported and had been brought to the local Australian hospital would not be allowed to remain in the country. A candlelight vigil in front of the Brisbane hospital where baby Asha was being treated was held on Sunday evening.
— Voice of America (@VOANews) February 14, 2016
Baby Asha, a 12-month-old girl, was brought to the Brisbane hospital late last month for medical care. Her parents are from Nepal and are seeking asylum in Australia, the Guardian reports. The infant was reportedly scalded by hot water at the refugee holding facility in Nauru.
Asha and 36 other babies born by refugees while in Australian territory were ordered to be sent back to their parents at the holding facilities and not be allowed to stay in the country. Some have raised concerns that the native-born babies have been mildly injured on purpose in an attempt to get them to a mainland hospital in hopes that they would be permitted to remain in the country.
Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital administrators are defying the Australian High Court order to return the baby to her parents. A representative from the Brisbane hospital told the media that baby Asha will only be discharged from the facility after a “suitable home environment is identified.”
The court order-defying position taken by Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital officials is supported by Queensland health minister Cameron Dick. On Sunday, he said that the physicians at the hospital made the correct “clinical decisions” in the case.
Doctors For Refugees co-founder Richard Kidd joined the protesters outside of the hospital. He told the media that evidence has been present for “many years” that the conditions at the “detention” centers are overwhelming and pose “terrible harm” to both babies and children. Kidd also claimed that both the mental and physical health of the infants and the children at the island processing centers is at risk.
Both leaders of multiple churches and some state government leaders have vowed to help Syrian refugees facing deportation resettle if the government allows them to stay in the country.
What do you think of the baby Asha case and the desire by activists to allow Syrian refugees to resettle in Australia?
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