Protect baby Isabella. Don’t send mum Huyen back to danger.
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My friend Huyen is a Vietnamese asylum seeker who was forced into detention while she was pregnant with her daughter. Isabella, her 20-month daughter, has spent her entire life in a Melbourne detention centre. Huyen was slapped with a deportation notice in November and she is at risk of being forcibly returned to Vietnam, where her life would be in danger.
Huyen is pleading with the government to stay for the sake of her daughter. She came to Australia by boat in 2011, fleeing religious persecution as a Catholic. She made this country her home and rebuilt her life. It was here she fell in love with and married Paul, and was about to start a family with him - before she was abruptly snatched away. Huyen gave birth to their only child, Isabella, in detention, and her husband Paul can only see them every other day, by appointment. Cruelly, Border Force officials are even refusing to let baby Isabella be baptised in a Catholic church.
The government has insisted on keeping this family separated and could still send Huyen back to danger, by sending a Catholic woman to a communist, non-religious state where she is already a target.
Little Isabella has spent her life locked in prison, the most unsuitable environment for a baby. She does not have access to basic health support. Isabella has only ever had two regular playmates in detention - Kopika and Tharunicaa - the two little girls from Biloela. All three little girls were already devastated by the separation when Priya, Nades and their little ones were transferred to Christmas island. Isabella lost weight and has had decreased appetite since the families were separated. Now, she could be torn from her mother’s loving arms any day.
Huyen will be forced to leave Isabella behind if she is deported to danger in Vietnam, because of fears that she will be immediately detained there. I have grave concerns for Huyen if she is separated from her child. I fear the terrible damage the separation will do to Isabella who has only ever lived with her mother.
This small family has endured enough hardships for a lifetime. Huyen came to Australia looking for a safe haven and now she could be deported to danger at any time.
Huyen’s lawyers made urgent submissions to the UN, who granted interim measures requesting the Australian Government not deport Huyen while it considered her case. The UN also asked the government to “take all necessary measures to prevent physical or psychological or irreparable harm to Ms Tran and [Isabella], having particular regard to [Isabella’s] needs as a child”.
The government has told lawyers they will conduct their own investigation but have yet to confirm in writing what that means.
The only thing Huyen’s lawyers know for sure right now is that they will get 7 days notice if she is to be sent away and separated from her daughter and husband.
Please, sign and share this petition to join the emergency response to save Huyen’s life, and reunite this beautiful family.
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