Latifa and and family went back to court today to find out whether the attempt to block their transfer back to Nauru was successful.
Latifa gave premature birth to a son Ferouz, at the Mater Hospital on the 6th of December. Since then she has had the threat of being transferred to Nauru with her family and new born son into conditions unsuitable for the care of an infant.
The case is still unresolved, but Latifa’s lawyers secured a commitment from the Department of Immigration to not move Latifa without notice.
Murray Watt of Maurice Blackburn gave a statement outside the court today:
Over the last 24 hours we have had a series of negotiations with the department and their advisers, and the government has made a commitment that before any decisions are made to move this family to Nauru, they will provide them with a fair hearing about their health issue, and about the rights of Ferouz having been born in Australia.
He went on to say:
The department has also provided a commitment that the family will be provided two days notice before any removal to Nauru. That is a really good outcome for this family, only one week ago we were in court because the family was subject to removal at any time, without any notice, and without any opportunity to provide medical information, and today we have managed to secure commitments from the government that they will get a fair hearing before any decision is made to take them to Nauru.
Mr Watt used the opportunity to remind the government of it’s obligations under international treaties.
The family is very happy with that outcome, and as I say it is a good outcome for this particular family, but having achieved a win for this particular family I think we have all got to reflect on the entire practice of detaining small children and families offshore in conditions that only this week the UN has reported are inhumane. I think we can do better than that as Australians, we have international obligations that require us to do better than that, and I now call on the minister and the entire Australian community to think about this is the kind of conditions that we think are acceptable for very small children and their families.
Mr Watt went on to explain that the government had every intention of sending Latifa and her family to Nauru once their health allowed them to be transferred safely In the coming weeks the law firm will present evidence to show why this was not an appropriate course of action.
The fact that Latifa was able to achieve a stay on her transfer to Nauru while her lawyers prepare her case will enable other asylum seekers to benefit also. This case will likely form a test case for other similar cases of detention on Australian soil and may set a precedent that will allow families to remain in Australia when the only alternative is to send families and their young children to the unsuitable conditions that exist at Nauru.