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Australian Hospital Refuses to Return Baby to Detention Center

  • VOA News

Members of the environmental group Greenpeace hold up a sign that reads "#LET THEM STAY" in front of the Opera House in Sydney, Australia, Feb. 14, 2016. A hospital in Brisbane has refused to send an asylum-seeker baby back to detention in Nauru as momentum builds across the country against offshore Pacific camps for used by the government for processing refugees who try to get to Australia.

Members of the environmental group Greenpeace hold up a sign that reads "#LET THEM STAY" in front of the Opera House in Sydney, Australia, Feb. 14, 2016. A hospital in Brisbane has refused to send an asylum-seeker baby back to detention in Nauru as momentum builds across the country against offshore Pacific camps for used by the government for processing refugees who try to get to Australia.

An Australian hospital is refusing to return an asylum-seeking baby to a detention center. Hundreds of people are keeping a vigil outside the Brisbane hospital to show their support for the doctors, Baby Asha and her parents.

Asha, who is 12 months old, was born to asylum-seeking Nepalese parents after they arrived in Australia. Asha was accidentally scalded with hot water at a detention camp on the remote Pacific island nation of Nauru.

Asylum-seekers who try to reach Australia by boat are sent to detention camps in Papua New Guinea and Nauru. They are blocked from being resettled in Australia, even if found to be refugees.

Lady Cilento Children's Hospital said in a statement Asha "will only be discharged once a suitable home environment is identified."

The hospital's move came as state governments, churches and activists stepped up their efforts to stop the return of some 267 refugees to Nauru following a High Court ruling.

Queensland state's Health Minister Cameron Dick has sided with the doctors. He said in a statement Sunday he "strongly support[s] doctors in our hospitals to make the right clinical decisions."

Doctors For Refugees co-founder Richard Kidd said in a statement on Facebook Sunday that his organization "commends the Brisbane doctors who put their responsibility to patient care ahead of political pressure. . .Doctors are ethically bound to provide their best care and resist any government attempts to interfere with this."

While Australia has defended its immigration policies, human rights groups have been harshly critical of the policies and the conditions of the detention centers.

The French news agency, AFP, reports the government-funded Human Rights Commission has found that children who lived in the Nauru center have high levels of mental illness.

Some material for this report came from AFP.

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