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Incommunicado detention of refugee family must end

Minister must end incommunicado detention of refugee family

Australian Greens Senator Kerry Nettle called on the Immigration Minister to act with humanity toward a family of Afghan asylum seekers being held incommunicado in Brisbane and allow them legal access and for their claims for asylum to be processed while they live in the community in Australia.

"I am very concerned that department is putting political interests ahead of the welfare and health needs of the boy. The Minister must act with compassion," said Senator Nettle.

"It beggars belief that a family seeking refugee status and with a sick child would refuse visits from Amnesty, the Red Cross and people from the Afghan community.

"I wrote to the Red Cross on Tuesday asking them to check on the welfare of this family, and I hope the department will facilitate them access to do their work.

"I urge Minister Vanstone to grant the family a residence determination which would allow them to live in the community and be cared for by the Red Cross. A desperate family with a sick child are highly unlikely to abscond.

"Having two guards present 24 hours a day and facing permanent banishment to Nauru is not the kind of environment a young boy should be in while preparing for surgery.

"Just yesterday I revealed that the government spent $1.5 million in legal costs defending their right to incarcerate and psychologically harm Shayan Badraie, who was held in detention at age five. I hope that this 9 year old Afghan boy will not have to go through the same experience as Shayan."

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