Featured image credit: Christine Hobbs, Twitter.
A group of mums and their children are currently conducting a sit in at Parliament House in Canberra as part of the #letthemstay campaign.
According to progressive campaign group, GetUp!, “Right now there are 267 asylum seekers in Australia who Prime Minister Turnbull may send back to offshore detention camps on Manus Island and Nauru within days.”
A spokeswoman for the group, Kristy Moyle said the recent High Court ruling, which ruled that offshore processing and detention complied with Australian law, had hit a very significant chord with parents around Australia.
“It is disappointing and shameful that our leaders have failed to protect those needing refuge for so long,” she said.
“This latest move has crossed a very serious, and unacceptable line for us.
“Most of us have never met each other before and we weren’t previously affiliated with any group. But seeing these babies, children and families at risk, we couldn’t stand by any longer. We had to do something.
“Despite being busy with babies and young children, we can’t stand by while the safety of other babies and young children – and their families – are being threatened. Our leaders claim repeatedly that families are the cornerstone of our country and yet they actively seek to remove babies and young children, along with their families,from Australian soil, all as part of some political game.
“Those 37 babies were born here in Australia,” Kristy Moyle said. “And their parents are among the 267 people at risk of deportation. Parents who – just like us – want nothing in life but the best for their children and families.
The 267 asylum seekers are made up of families with young children.
— christina hobbs (@Christina_ACT) February 22, 2016
The sit in follows a week long vigil outside Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in Brisbane, where an child known as Baby Asha was being treated for burns sustained on Nauru in an immigration detention facility. Baby Asha was born in Australia.
Doctors at Lady Cilento refused to discharge the baby to be returned to Nauru out of concern for the child’s continuing safety, an action that received the support of the Queensland Government. On Sunday night, the Australian Government confirmed that Baby Asha and her family would be processed in community detention on the Australian mainland, in order to break the deadlock.
The Sydney Morning Herald is now reporting that, “Asylum seeker baby Asha and her family will be returned to Nauru once medical and legal processes are complete, the Turnbull government has vowed.” However, refugee advocacy groups are yet to confirm the ongoing arrangements for Baby Asha and her family.
Whatever the case, there is ongoing confusion and disarray in relation to both the message coming from the Government and the ongoing circumstances of the 267 asylum seekers, including 31 babies, who are being held in mandatory detention.