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Baby Asha discharged from Lady Cilento hospital

Protesters stand outside and occupy Australian PM Turnbull's electoral office, as they demand end to policy of offshore detention of asylum seekers, in Sydney suburb of Edgecliff. REUTERS/David Gray

Baby Asha discharged from Lady Cilento hospital

The community rallied around the Lady Cilento hospital in Brisbane on the weekend, in solidarity with doctors and health professionals who were refusing to discharge a twelve month old baby back into offshore detention on Nauru. Baby Asha is an asylum-seeker born in Australia and returned this month for treatment of boiling water burns sustained following an accident at the detention centre.

The hospital refused to release Asha on the grounds that “a suitable home environment” had not been “identified.” Today, after a week stand off between Lady Cilento and the government, Baby Asha and her mother have been released into community detention in Australia by order of the government. Fionnagh Dougan, Chief executive of Children’s Health Queensland said that Children’s Health was working with the government following the immigration department confirming that there was “no imminent plan for the family to return to Nauru”.

The fight to keep Baby Asha out of offshore detention involved a 10 day long vigil in front of the hospital, and comes after an accumulation of damaging reports have been released, exposing the dangerous conditions in the offshore detention centres.

The documentation is contributing to growing concerns about the long-term damaging effects of these conditions particularly on children. In our report last week on the #LetThemStay campaign we mentioned that Peadiatricians assessing children in detention have said the children “are among the most traumatised we have ever seen in our 50 years of combined professional experience”.

Referring to the recent case of Baby Asha, Save The Children has said that the return of the infant to the area in which she was originally being kept on Nauru, could be “potentially catastrophic”.  The organisation reported that the infant was being kept in a leaky tent surrounded by rats.

Asha and her mother will be in community detention in Australia while her family’s case is “under consideration” by the immigration department.

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