Queensland girl detained on Christmas Island seriously ill

Modesto Morganelli
Giugno 9, 2021

Priya, her husband Nades and their Australian-born daughters Tharnicaa and Kopika, 6, have been in detention since 2018, and on Christmas Island since August 2019.

Tharnicaa had been sick for about 10 days before authorities took her to the hospital on Christmas Island, and later transferred her to Perth.

Advocates say she has since been diagnosed with sepsis and pneumonia, and is in a stable condition.

Tharnicaa's mother Priya has been allowed to accompany her to the Perth hospital, but her father Nades and older sister Kopika remain on the island.

Tharnicaa and her sister were both born in Queensland.

"This family should not be in detention - they should be in their community in Biloela", said Labor's home affairs spokeswoman Kristina Keneally.

She declined to comment further because she didn't "want to disrupt those negotiations", but ruled out using her discretion to grant them a visa at this stage.

On Tuesday, the Australian government announced it was considering deals where the family could be resettled in the United States or in New Zealand.

"I am feeling very scared and anxious for my little girl", she said.

"Our thoughts and best wishes are with [Tharnicaa], and with her family".

But the family's lawyer, Carina Ford, said neither she or her clients had been approached about the prospect.

"Every time we've been speaking to Priya we can hear her crying in the background, asking for Kopika and papa, so she is not in a happy state", she said.

It is understood Tharnicaa was first admitted to the hospital on Christmas Island on Sunday morning.

Family friend and campaigner Angela Fredericks said the toddler's medical needs "have been dismissed" after the family sought treatment for Tharnicaa for days before she was eventually hospitalised.

"As soon as the Australian Border Force was advised by the treating medical practitioners that the minor required medical treatment in Western Australia, the minor was transferred to a hospital in Western Australia", they said.

"The Australian Border Force strongly denies any allegations of inaction or mistreatment of individuals in its care", a spokesperson said in a statement.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison weighed in on the issue on Tuesday, stating medical professionals would determine where and what medical care Tharnicaa received.

Supporters are planning to gather outside the hospital where Tharnicaa and Priya are staying for a candlelight vigil on Wednesday.

"This is just not good enough", Ms Fredericks said.

The girl's illness has prompted supporters of the family, including several opposition lawmakers, to renew calls for the government to release them.

Thousands of asylum seekers have been held in facilities off the mainland since 2013, when the government introduced "offshore processing" of boat arrivals.

"In the immediate term, we're urging the Australian government to provide the Biloela family with all the medical care they need, as well as any other refugees or asylum seekers in need of medical attention".

The family have been in immigration detention for more than three years. They have been held in detention on Christmas Island since August 2019.

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