This week saw escalating ‘Let Them Stay’ protests, following the High Court’s decision allowing Australia to detain asylum seekers offshore. Six state and territory leaders offered to resettle the 267 asylum seekers affected by the decision, however, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has yet to respond to the political and community pressure.
Doctors at a Brisbane hospital declined to discharge a baby in an effort to prevent her return to Nauru. One-year-old ‘Asha’ was treated for accidental burns injuries at Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital, where a spokesperson said she would be released only once ‘a suitable home environment is identified’. The case has attracted the backing of hundreds of protesters, who have camped outside the hospital in support of the doctors’ actions.
The ABC apologised for confusing two cases of alleged child abuse on Nauru. ABC News Director Gaven Morris acknowledged the error in reporting the testimony of a paediatrician that a five-year-old was raped on the island and was being sent back to face his attacker. The paediatrician’s statement in fact referred to an older child, whom the paediatrician, Karen Zwi, maintains was raped. The five-year-old at the centre of the claims was allegedly sexually assaulted.
The immigration department confirmed paying Nauru $29m in visa fees to keep asylum seekers in detention. The cost of a visa for a single asylum seeker in Nauru has risen to $1,000 per month since the centre was reopened in 2012, in addition to the fees Australia pays to contractors running the facility.
The refugee crisis continues to escalate in Europe, with the Austrian government confirming it will reduce the number of asylum applications received in 2016, while Turkey has for the first time shut entry to Syrian refugees, claiming the country has reached its limit. The news comes as NATO entered the crisis for the first time, promising to deploy ships in the Aegean Sea to deter people smugglers. The move was criticised by some international aid groups.