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Nun seeking relief for detained asylum seeker family

Mercy Sister Claudette Cusack is organising a support group for a family in South Australia's Baxter Immigration Detention Centre in the hope that they can get relief from detention in the form of a bridging visa.

The Advertiser reports that the boy was born into detention while his parents, who fled Afghanistan by boat more than four years ago, have been seeking freedom. He has spent his 10-week life in the detention centre since days after his birth in Port Augusta Hospital.

The baby is the "one child whose parents were unauthorised boat arrivals" Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone spoke of earlier this week.

The Baxter baby's young Afghan parents, who cannot be identified, want to remain together as a family with their only child.

The mother has refused the chance to move from Baxter Detention Centre to a Department of Immigration residential housing facility in Port Augusta.

Senator Vanstone said the mother could choose to make that move any time she wished but it would mean the father would see his son for just four hours twice a week.

A friend of the young couple yesterday said they had made the tough decision for all to remain in detention because of "the obvious love" they had for their child.

Last night eight children and their mothers returned to Baxter from the Port Augusta residential community to show their support for the family as well as to protest against being detained.

Sr Claudette Cusack, speaking on behalf of Rural Australian for Refugees, said the support group hopes the family eventually will be awarded a temporary protection visa.

"The situation with the young mother and the baby is so dire, we want to get relief from detention for the family so we are trying to get a support group for them," she said.

A mother's sacrifice (The Advertiser 8/7/04)

Detention figures only paint half the picture (Insights 7/7/04)

8 Jul 2004