A 5-month-old baby has been sent to the Australian-run immigration detention centre on Nauru Island despite recommendations that the facility is not fit to host infants.
Located in the Central Pacific, the facility on Nauru Island is home to thousands of refugees who have not been able to gain residency in Australia and are, therefore, illegal on mainland soil.
However, never has an infant been sent to the detention centre and the outcome of a risk assessment carried out by Save the Children concluded that any transfer of infants to this particular part of the facility could be potentially catastrophic.
The report mentioned rat and mice infestation.
Save the Children concluded its risk assessment by strongly recommending to the Australian government that no transfer of infants should take place.
The baby, named Asha, has been at the facility for over a week now and according to reports has developed gastroenteritis.
Meanwhile, the parents of the child are suffering from mental health problems due to what they experience as a traumatic event.
Senator of the Greens Sarah Hanson Young, who opposed the move, was quoted as saying that the parents have threatened to commit suicide so that the baby can return to mainland Australia.
The risk assessment was a misrepresentation of the health conditions at the centre, the Australian government was quoted as saying.
Moreover, it is planning for the transfer of nine more infants.
The group of infants facing detention were all born in Australia after December 4, 2014. This date represents a cut-off point as part of a “one-off deal” made by then immigration minister Scott Morrison with crossbench senator Ricky Muir to pass the federal government’s temporary protection visa legislation.
As part of the deal, a group of 31 babies born into detention before this date, along with their families, were eligible to apply for protection visas in Australia. Those born after this date faced being sent offshore.