News National Baby Asha’s family slam Border Force

Baby Asha’s family slam Border Force

Baby Asha protest
AAP: Nathan Paull
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Lawyers for the mother of asylum seeker Baby Asha say the Federal Government’s Border Force unit prevented them from speaking with her for days.

The Human Rights Law Centre said it was stopped from contacting Asha’s family for three days, with access allowed only after it issued a public statement on the situation.

The one-year-old was released from a Brisbane hospital into community detention on Monday.

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“It’s been an emotional few days for the family … [the mother] had been asking to speak with us and we had been asking to speak with her but Border Force was blocking access,” HRLC legal advocacy director Daniel Webb said.

The Human Rights Law Centre said baby Asha’s mother was given access to a lawyer by phone early on Monday evening.

Refugee advocate and family spokeswoman Natasha Blucher said she was concerned Immigration Minister Peter Dutton had not released more information.

“Certainly I would think that the Minister would be obligated to at least provide their whereabouts and wellbeing information to their lawyer at the very least,” she said.

“And an assurance that they have been placed in community detention at this time.”

The ABC has contacted the Immigration Minister’s office for comment.

On Monday, Mr Dutton said the Government would stick to its policy of returning asylum seekers to offshore detention after any medical and legal issues were resolved.

“People will go back to Nauru,” he said, adding the Government would “not be held to ransom” on the issue.

“In the interim, we will make an assessment case by case as to whether or not it’s safe for the family to live in the community.”

Despite Mr Dutton’s stance, Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) chief executive Kon Karapanagiotidis said the move to “community detention is a fair compromise”.

“It is far, far, far better than being in an immigration prison,” he said.

“The mum and the baby — and hopefully the father will be joining them soon — are in a community housing situation and also in medical care and able to contact their lawyers. We see that as a fair compromise.”

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