Fears Australian Immigration meddling could harm refugee child

An Australian human rights lawyer says continued interference by Australian immigration officials in the medical care of refugees detained on Manus and Nauru could result in the death of a child.

Last week a teenage girl was allowed into Australia from Nauru for urgent medical treatment only after a federal court dismissed Australian Immigration’s attempts to block her.

George Newhouse of the National Justice Project said the Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton disagreed with expert medical opinions and said the girl could be treated on Nauru.

However, a federal court judge found the medical evidence compelling and ordered the child be treated in Australia.

There have been more than a dozen attempts by immigration to block the transfers of children from Nauru seeking medical care.

Mr Newhouse cites as a warning last week’s coronial findings, where delays to the transfer of Hamid Khazaei resulted in his death.

“I’m extremely concerned that we may see a child die in similar circumstances where medical advice is being delayed or over-ruled by bureaucrats,” he said.

Mr Newhouse said his client was now in Australia receiving medical care.