Refugee boy in custody
A NINE-year-old refugee in need of urgent surgery is being held by Australian immigration authorities under guard and may be sent to Nauru or back to Papua New Guinea.
The boy was found with his parents on the excised territory of Saibai Island and has no automatic access to Australian legal assistance.
The Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs yesterday said the boy would get medical treatment before being sent out of Australia.
But refugee advocates said the child had been moved to an undisclosed location after being held under guard at Brisbane's Royal Children's Hospital on Sunday night.
The Afghan family, believed to be members of the Hazara community, left Port Moresby in an attempt to reach Australia and were found on Saibai in the Torres Strait about a week ago.
"The parents set off on this perilous journey in a tiny little boat precisely for this medical help," Asylum Seeker Resource Centre co-ordinator Pamela Curr said.
Ms Curr said Amnesty International and a Hazara community representative were denied access to the family at the Brisbane hospital.
She questioned DIMA's claim the family did not want to speak to human rights groups.
"What is happening to this family is the result of the legislation which makes it possible for the Government to refuse legal advice or representation to persons who arrive on Australian islands which have been excised," Ms Curr said.
"We remind DIMA that they are still human beings."
A DIMA spokesman said the boy had left hospital pending further treatment.
"The family will remain in alternative detention arrangements in Queensland while this further treatment is organised."
The emphasis is mine.
I must be missing the point of a country being a sovereign nation. Somehow, I doubt that if a family made their way to a country not run along our amazingly open and liberal lines, apparently in order to take advantage of our medical system, they would be permitted to land. Let alone be provided with free medical treatment and sustenance.
Of course, this is what makes Australia such a dreadful, discriminatory place.
We don't let them talk to refugee advocates!
Shame, Australia! Shame!