23 Nov 2013

Australian lawyers wins reprieve on removal of asylum seekers to Nauru

11:10 am on 23 November 2013

An Australian law firm has won a commitment from Australia's Immigration Department that it will not remove a new born baby and his family to Nauru until further orders from the Federal Circuit Court.

The firm, Maurice Blackburn, requested on Thursday that Immigration Minister, Scott Morrison, give an undertaking by midday Friday not to remove baby Farus and his family.

But no undertaking from the Minister was forthcoming, and legal action by the firm Friday afternoon resulted in an undertaking from the Minister to the court

There will be a further hearing in the Federal Circuit Court next Tuesday.

Maurice Blackburn Associate, Murray Watt, said the application was an important test case on the ability of the Government to take asylum seekers offshore without consideration of the impacts on their health.

Mr Watt said the family of Burmese asylum seekers are understandably terrified that they could be taken to Nauru at any time.

He said baby Farus, his mother Latifar and their family have already been mistreated by the Australian Government, with restrictions placed on the family's ability to visit him in hospital in the days following his birth.

Refugee advocates had grown increasingly concerned at the possibility of the family being removed given the primitive conditions in the family detention camp on Nauru.

Ian Rintoul of the Refugee Action Coalition says baby Farus and his mother need special care and there is simply no facilities that would allow the preparation of formula or sterilisation of bottles in the family camp on Nauru.