Yesterday’s front cover of The Age newspaper was disturbing to say the least.
“ Babies bound for HELL ” — is what the title read, below a photo of a beautiful baby boy named Samuel.
It was enough to make you stand in the newsagent, and gasp.
Samuel’s father, Matthew (not his real name), says he fears for his son’s development if sent to Nauru, where Australian doctors say health problems are endemic.
“There is bad hygiene and facilities and life is very limited for a baby. There is no security. Women can get raped. There is not enough education or proper medical facilities,” he told Fairfax Media from a detention centre in Darwin.
Samuel’s mother describes Nauru as “the end of the world”.
“It is like hell,” she says.
The Age article states there are 37 babies in total the Federal Government wants to put on a plane and send to Nauru’s offshore processing center. Also facing the prospect of removal are about 160 adults, including Samuel’s parents, and another 50-odd children.
All of these families and their children were flown to Australia from offshore centres in Nauri and Manus Island, mostly for medical treatment.
The group is party to a High Court case where the Human Rights Law Centre is challenging the Government’s policy of sending uninvited boat arrivals to life in limbo on two small islands run by foreign governments.
The decision by the court’s full bench will be handed down this morning and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has flagged his intention to move quickly to send the asylum seekers to Nauru, saying this will reduce the number of children in detention on the mainland to just seven.
“This is a sleight of hand,” says the President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Professor Gillian Triggs, who says the babies and children will be simply transferred from mainland detention to an environment certain to do even more damage.
Samuel is just one innocent child who simply is not old enough to stand up for himself and demand a better, brighter future in our great country, but you can.
Give these children a chance to enjoy the life us Australians are proud to represent. We have a great, vast country and it’s time we start sharing it more.
Thank you The Age for sharing this story.