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Issue #1704      September 30, 2015

First refugee baby born on Nauru

A Rohingya baby became the first baby born to a refugee family on Nauru on Friday September 18. The baby girl, Nourkayas, was 3 kilograms, and mother (Mama Citi) and baby are reported to be doing well. Nourkayas is the third child for the Rohingya family that already includes a 7 year-old boy and a 3 year-old girl.

The baby was born on Nauru after her mother refused to be transferred to Port Moresby for the birth.

“We are very happy that all has gone well for mother and baby; but it is a risky precedent. The fact that refugees are sent to PNG and asylum seeker mothers are sent to Australia to have their babies says that Australian authorities do not believe that Nauru is safe,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“The Australian government has a responsibility for all babies born to asylum seeker and refugee families; all pregnant women should be brought to Australia to give birth.

“We wish the family well, but we know the conditions on Nauru – no education, and no resettlement – puts a dark cloud over their future.”

The birth will also seriously add to the family’s difficulties on Nauru. In the Nibok camp, family housing is stifling hot converted shipping containers, with only a small fan for ventilation.

The heat makes the accommodation unbearable; while the frequent water and electricity shortages make the situation impossible.

“All the problems of looking after a new baby are magnified. Sterilising bottles for example could become a nightmare,” said Rintoul.

“There needs to be consistent policy from the government. All mothers-to-be should be brought, with their families, to Australia to give birth, where there are proper medical facilities to ensure the health of mother and baby.

“Any birth is risky and Nauru hospital has limited staff, limited resources and no specialists. Any complication would risk the well-being of mother and baby. It is too big a risk to take.

“If the government had the best interests of mother and child at heart, they would not be on Nauru in the first place.”

Next article – Lift the US blockade on Cuba! – Return Guantánamo Bay!

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