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Urgent Assistance Required For Seriously Ill Child

Urgent Assistance Required For Seriously Ill Child

Dear Media representatives,

The Call to Action below on behalf of a young Afghan boy is gaining traction, with now wide dispersion of the urgent call from Ms Pamela Curr, ChilOut, Project SafeCom and Ms Freddie Steen in Brisbane.

With perhaps just one or two days left, before the boy will be flown as planned to Christmas Island, more than 2600 km from the closest hospital in Perth, and WITHOUT any guarantees that a GP will be on the island at all (the Christmas Island medical doctor only flies in periodically) it MUST be clear to ALL reporters that DIMA is seriously breaching ethical standards of due medical care - and of course, guilty of another serious breach of the Convention for the Rights of the Child.

Please make a report about this urgent and grave situation a PRIME PRIORITY via your media organisation.

Yours sincerely,

Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
P.O. Box 364
Narrogin WA 6312

phone (08) 9881-5651
mobile 0417 090 130


Dear readers,

Please review the material below, starting with a call to action from ChilOut, followed by a detailed report from Pamela Curr and media coverage from this weekend.

Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
P.O. Box 364
Narrogin WA 6312

phone (08) 9881-5651
mobile 0417 090 130

From ChilOut:

This is an urgent call to action to save the life of a seriously ill, nine year old Afghan boy in Brisbane, who the Immigration department is proposing to send to Christmas Island, far from specialist medical care. Please contact your MP's office and the offices of your state or territory senators to raise the matter of this child urgently. See the example letter below from Pamela Curr for details of the child's siutation.

* Contact details for Federal MPs
* Find your electorate
* Contact details for Senators

From Pamela Curr
Campaign Coordinator
Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
67 Jeffcott Street
West Melbourne 3003
Tel 0417 517 075
29 July 2006

Urgent Assistance Required For Seriously Ill Child

I am requesting your assistance to stop the removal of a seriously ill, nine year old Afghan child and his parents to Christmas Island. The reason for this is that the child has Hereditary Spherocytosis.

Hereditary Spherocytosis results is an over production of red cells with severe anaemia, splenomegaly and jaundice as these break down. This child has had both his spleen and his gall bladder removed in the past month to alleviate the condition. The condition can not be cured but with good medical care can be controlled. Without a spleen this child is highly susceptible to infection. He must remain on daily antibiotics and be watched for any sign of infection as this could become life threatening within hours.

This family is awaiting a decision on their protection visa application. They arrived on Saibai Island around the 22nd May. They came to Australia seeking asylum and in desperation, medical care for their child who was at this time desperately ill. The family was taken to the Royal Brisbane Children’s Hospital for urgent care. They are now in community detention under guard somewhere in Brisbane.

The Immigration department is now proposing to send the family to Christmas Island which is 2,600 kms from Perth and the nearest specialist medical facility. Currently there is no doctor on Christmas Island although the doctor will return in a few weeks. Normally there is one doctor on the island and one on circuit through the other islands. The Medical facilities for a child with a life-threatening condition are dangerously inadequate.

Recently a West Papuan child on Christmas Island required two trips back and forth from Christmas Island to Perth for medical care. This necessitated flights with her father and two guards at enormous cost and great stress. In 2002 Fatima a 27-year-old Afghan woman died as a result of high blood pressure which caused a brain haemmorrhage. She had been given Panadol for 3 days before collapsing.

The child's doctors have stated that he must remain close to specialist medical facilities. The practicalities are that if the child developed an infection, it could take at least 24 -36 hours to authorise a plane and then to organise a flight to Perth. This proved too long for Fatima. We must not allow this child to be placed at risk of a similar fate.

Please intervene to save this child’s life.

Yours Sincerely
Pamela Curr

Transfer 'risks asylum seeker's health'

The Australian
By Saffron Howden
July 30, 2006

A NINE-year-old Afghan boy recovering from major surgery will be transferred to Christmas Island from community detention in Brisbane, putting him thousands of kilometres away from specialist medical care.

The boy's spleen and gall bladder both were removed in the past month to treat hereditary spherocytosis, refugee advocates said. The incurable genetic disorder of the red blood cell membrane causes anaemia, splenomegaly – or enlargement of the spleen – and jaundice.

Once the spleen is removed, sufferers can lead a normal life, but young children without a spleen have an increased risk of bloodstream infection. Refugee advocates fear the boy will be far from appropriate medical aid when he is transferred to Christmas Island – about 2600km north-west of Perth. They fear the transfer could be as early as this week.

… snip…,20867,19960874-29277,00.html

Sick Afghan boy to be 'deported’

Viv Green
Green Left Weekly
August 2 2006

In a July 29 media release, the refugee rights group Project SafeCom condemned the immigration department’s decision to order a sick nine-year-old Afghan boy living in community detention in Brisbane to be relocated to the detention facility on Christmas Island, in the Indian Ocean. The relocation order was in direct contravention of the advice given by Brisbane Children’s Hospital doctors, according to Project SafeCom director Jack Smit.

The boy’s family arrived in Australia via the Torres Strait islands two months ago, and sought asylum. Soon afterwards, the boy underwent an operation to remove his spleen. “Asylum seekers who are medically vulnerable are placed in danger by being in remote detention facilities”, said Smit.

MEDIA RELEASE: DIMA set to "deport" sick 9-year-old boy to Christmas Island

Project SafeCom Inc.
P.O. Box 364
Western Australia 6312
Phone (08) 9881-5651

DIMA set to "deport" sick 9-year-old boy to Christmas Island

Media Release
Saturday July 29 2006, 8:30AM WEST
For immediate Release
No Embargoes

"Acting squarely against explicit doctors' advice at the Brisbane Children's Hospital who told officials to not relocate the boy and his family to any remote detention facility, a nine-year-old Afghan boy who in recent weeks underwent an operation to remove his spleen, is set to be removed from the current arrangement of living in 'community detention' in Brisbane to the remote facility on Christmas Island," WA Rights group Project SafeCom said this morning.

The family arrived in Australia via the Torres Strait islands two months ago and sought asylum upon arrival, the factor of their sick son reportedly being one of the main factors behind the family's urgency to reach Australia. Soon afterwards the boy was being diagnosed and underwent an operation to remove his spleen in a Brisbane hospital.

"This is a blatant example of the DIMA clearly not having learnt from experience," spokesman Jack H Smit said. "We already clearly know that asylum seekers who are medically vulnerable, are placed in danger by being in remote detention facilities. We know how Fatima Erfani, a young mother of three, died in Perth from a massive brain aneurysm after delays and cover-ups where detention guards on Christmas Island 'fed her' panadols to get Ms Erfani out of their hair and out of the medical office in the detention centre, all this while she was already in grave danger."

"We already know how the case of the 14-year old boy Shahin Agdar, who while being left untreated in the Port Hedland detention centre, lost the sight in one eye permanently, and nearly also the sight in his other eye."

"It seems clear, that the Department of Immigration once again is digging in its heels - as we have also seen recently with the detention of a Japanese honors and PhD student in Villawood."

"The Department of Immigration is once again resorting to secretive methods, to methods of whisking away the rights of asylum seekers, and the rights of child asylum seekers. The Department remains happy to be in breach of the Convention for the Rights of the Child and of several other Conventions Australia has ratified."

For more information: Jack H Smit, Project SafeCom Inc.
Office (08) 9881-5651 | mobile 0417 090 130


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