A Brisbane hospital is on warpath with the federal government as it seeks to stop the Department of Immigration and Border Protection from sending back an Australian-born Nepalese baby to Nauru’s detention centre.
Baby Asha, as she is widely known, was flown to Brisbane last month for treatment after she scalded herself with boiling water while learning to walk in a tent at Nauru Regional Processing Centre. Born in Darwin to a Nepalese-Christian refugee parents, she is little over a year old.
Should the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital release Baby Asha, she and her parents would be put on a plane to the pacific where living conditions are such that it is largely considered as a no-place-for-baby zone.
A statement by the hospital on Friday said it would not release Baby Asha until a “suitable home environment is identified”. A large group of Baby Asha supporters, and by extension supporters of the hospital, have not since left the hospital premises, drawing a huge public support for the doctors who stand firm in ensuring her welbeing.
There have even overnight vigil in support of the Nepalese toddler.
The doctors of the hospital has now found strong support in a Queensland government minister. According to Brisbane Times, health minister Cameron Dick has said he stands by the doctors in not releasing the baby until her accommodation in Australia is confirmed.
‘Asha’ means hope in Nepalese language.
Hundreds of protesters turned up at a Melbourne rally on June 25 to show support for Asha while many other similar programmes were organised across the Commonwealth to put pressure on the federal government to bring her back to the Australian mainland.
Whereas not much is known about the parents, media calls Baby Asha’s father ‘Vijay’ and the mother ‘Abhaya’. They were transferred from the Nauru Detention Centre to Darwin in January 2015 for the birth of the baby but were later transferred to Melbourne where Baby Asha was eventually born.
Once born, she and her parents were forcefully transferred from a Melbourne detention facility to Nauru on 4 June 2015. In the early hours of that day, the then five month old Asha made history of sort by becoming the first baby born in immigration detention to be transferred to the Nauru Regional Processing Centre.
Although Australia’s Nepalese community organisations including Non-Resident Nepali Organisation (NRNA) have remained largely silent on the subject, thousands of concerned Australians are on streets to fight for the minor.
If Asha is returned to the Detention Centre, she is faced with a number of hostile conditions in Nauru including heat, humidity, poor sanitation, mosquitoes and above all, a lack of nutrition. Care workers have time and again expressed concern for the wellbeing of both the baby and her mother.