An Australian man whose twin babies were left stranded by a court decision in Nepal has appealed to the Federal Government to help bring them home.
The babies were born under a surrogacy arrangement, four days after Nepal’s Supreme Court ruled surrogacy be suspended.
Sydney man Cameron (not his real name) and his partner completed paperwork for their babies’ Australian citizenship and passports, but visas to leave Nepal were denied.
“My two babies, they’re two months old — boy and girl — are currently in Nepal,” Cameron said.
“We’re stuck and the children are basically being held against their will,” he added.
“Our ambassador has been really aggressive with his approach on a diplomatic front. But as of this week, through his own admission, I guess, he’s basically said, ‘Look, I’ve tried every option I can through the diplomatic route. You have to engage your own lawyers and fight it locally now because that’s your only option’.
“The Nepalis just won’t play ball. They won’t release these children on any humanitarian grounds, it’s just, you’re stuck.”
Director of Families Through Surrogacy Sam Everingham said Cameron’s case was not isolated.
“There’s about 50-plus families who are trapped right now in Kathmandu. Of those, about 16 to 20 are Australian,” Mr Everingham said.
“And that number is likely to grow quickly over the next few months, given there’s about 100 surrogates pregnant.”
Mr Everingham said a number of families had been lobbying government departments in Nepal, and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs was also trying to broker a solution.
But he said the Australian government needed to do more.
“We really need to have some extra pressure put on Nepal from a humanitarian perspective by the Australian government, the Foreign Minister, the Prime Minister at least to try and broker a solution,” he said.
In a statement, Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop said the status of surrogacy arrangements in Nepal commissioned prior to the court decision remained unclear despite attempts by the Australian government to seek clarification.
She said she had written to Nepal’s foreign minister to ask that arrangements be put in place to facilitate the exit of children who have Australian citizenship and passports.
She added there are limits to what the Australian Government could do to influence the laws of a foreign country.
Cameron also called on the Foreign Minister and the Prime Minister to help.
“What I really am calling on our government to do is the office of DFAT and also Julie Bishop, and realistically the Prime Minister, to get on the phone, ring their counterparts in Nepal that are way above the people we’ll be dealing with, to allow these poor children, these poor innocent children that have got Australian passports, allow them to leave,” he said.
Cameron said the two dads, who have set up their home for their little girl and boy, would continue their efforts.
“These are our babies, we’ll fight for them and we will continue to fight for them,” he said.