Over 2000 doctors have signed an open letter urging the government to transfer a Hazara refugee who is dying of lung cancer from Nauru to Australia. Doctors claim the man needs immediate palliative care and have stated that the treatment he is receiving in the Australian-run facility on Nauru is ‘totally inadequate’. The Australian Border Force provided him the option or either being transferred to Taiwan for care, or being returned to Afghanistan. A public petition to bring the man to Australia has also gathered more than 22,000 signatures.
Meanwhile, a Federal Court judge ruled that a pregnant Somali refugee woman requiring an abortion be transferred from Nauru to Australia. The pregnant woman is the victim of female genital mutilation and requires specialised medical treatment. The Australian Government previously proposed she be sent to Taiwan for the procedure.
A further six refugees from Manus Island were transferred to the US to be resettled. The government has confirmed that a total of 292 refugees have now been transferred to the US from Manus Island and Nauru under the US-Australia resettlement deal.
A family of Tamil asylum seekers living in Biloela QLD for many years, including two Australian-born daughters, lost their appeal to stay in Australia and will likely be deported back to Sri Lanka. Many of the Biloela community have rallied against the family’s deportation, and their case and treatment has sparked widespread attention, including a petition urging the Minister for Home Affairs to allow them to stay signed by more than 62,000 people. The family has 21 days to decide whether they will contest the Federal Circuit Court ruling.
The federal court ruled that asylum seekers in detention can keep their mobile phones, following the government’s legislation introduced in September 2017 banning detainees from having phones and other items considered risky.
Independent MP Andrew Wilkie introduced legislation into parliament seeking to abolish mandatory detention of asylum seekers and refugees. The proposed legislation promotes community-based alternatives, and would require all asylum seekers currently in offshore detention to be brought to Australia. It would also establish a framework of collaboration with Asia-Pacific nations.
Following widespread outrage over the separation of immigrant and asylum seeker parents and children at the US southern border, President Trump signed an Executive Order to end family separations and detain parents and children together. However, the language of the Order leaves room for exceptions, and Trump maintained that strong immigration enforcement and border security will continue.