Catholic baby in detention rushed to hospital

Huyen Tran and husband Paul Lee with baby Isabella last year (Refugee Action Collective)

A human rights lawyer has accused the federal Government of failing “in its duty of care” after a 15-month-old girl housed in a Melbourne immigration detention centre was hospitalised with the flu. Source: ABC News.

Vietnamese asylum seeker Huyen Tran was put in detention about 20 months ago, when she was about five months pregnant with her daughter Isabella.

Baby Isabella was born in detention and according to the pro-bono legal firm Human Rights for All, she has spent her entire life in detention.

In November last year, The Guardian reported Ms Tran, a Catholic, was denied a church baptism for Isabella.

Ms Tran’s lawyer, Alison Battisson, told the ABC that Isabella’s mother had been complaining to staff at the Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation (MITA) facility for several weeks that the 15-month-old had a fever, but those calls were ignored.

Ms Battisson said an ambulance was called to MITA, at Broadmeadows in Melbourne’s north, on Friday evening.

“It should not take somebody’s lawyer calling ambulance services for a baby’s temperature to be checked. It is just insane,” she said.

Isabella, who is one of five children in detention at MITA, has been diagnosed with Influenza A. “The flu in a child can be quite serious,” Ms Battisson said.

Northern Health has confirmed it is caring for Isabella. “The child is currently being treated for a medical condition as an inpatient at Northern Hospital Epping,” the health service said in a statement.

Huyen Tran fled Vietnam over fears of persecution due to her Catholic faith. Ms Tran is also sick and receiving hospital treatment.

Ms Battisson said the centre was not the place for children. “Places of detention are just inherently unsafe for children, you cannot make them safe,” she said. The mothers cannot provide a safe space for them in terms of hygiene and sanitation.”

Isabella’s transfer to hospital follows the death of a 23-year-old Afghan man, who died at MITA on Friday night. His death is not being treated as suspicious and a report is being prepared for the coroner.


Asylum seeker’s baby rushed from Melbourne immigration detention centre to hospital with flu (ABC News)


Border Force accused of preventing church baptism of baby born in detention (The Guardian

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