October 15, 2014 | world bulletin
Court denies 11-month-old Rohingya Muslim boy residence despite Australian birth
World Bulletin/News Desk
A court in Australia has ruled that a Muslim Rohingya baby born in a Brisbane hospital does not have the right to refugee status, local media reported Wednesday.
Eleven-month-old Ferouz Myuddin was denied a protection visa, which would have given him permanent residence in Australia, after a federal court judge ruled he was an “unauthorized maritime arrival” so could not claim refugee status.
The ruling has implications for around 100 babies born on Australian soil to asylum-seeker parents who arrived by boat, according to Murray Watt, a lawyer for the family cited by the Brisbane Times.
Ferouz was born in Brisbane’s Mater Hospital after his mother was transferred from a refugee detention center on Nauru, the Pacific island where many Australia-bound refugees are held.
His family, part of Myanmar’s Muslim minority who face persecution in their homeland, arrived in Australia in September last year before being taken to Nauru.
Judge Michael Jarrett agreed with Immigration Minister Scott Morrison’s decision that Ferouz had arrived on Australian territory illegally.
Watt said he was advising the Myuddin family, currently staying in a detention center in Darwin, to appeal.
“This is a ludicrous decision given he was born here in Brisbane’s Mater Hospital and he even has a Queensland birth certificate,” ABC News quoted him as saying.
Ferouz’s parents, who have two other children, are also applying for citizenship for him as a “stateless” migrant, arguing that as a Rohingya he is denied citizenship in Myanmar.
The ruling came as Australia tightens its immigration laws, particularly for ‘boat people’ arriving from Southeast Asia.
The country signed a deal with Cambodia to resettle refugees last month and runs offshore detention camps in Nauru and Papua New Guinea, where conditions have been condemned by the UN.
The government has also reintroduced temporary visas to allow refugees to be returned to their country of origin if conditions improve.
On Tuesday the High Court in Canberra began hearing a case on the detention of 157 Sri Lankan Tamil asylum-seekers for weeks at sea. Lawyers say the Tamils were falsely imprisoned on the ship.
Sydney’s Refugee Action Coalition says hundreds of refugees have died at sea trying to get to Australia, with many deaths allegedly due to the search and rescue authorities focusing on stopping boats rather than saving lives.