**PLEASE ONLY SIGN IF YOU ARE A PAEDIATRICIAN, HEALTHCARE WORKER, OR STUDENT HCW ***
This open letter is to request that the Australian government release the Bileola family from immigration

detention


10th December 2020

To: Australian Prime Minister Hon. Scott Morrison MP
Cc Australian Health Minister Hon. Greg Hunt MP, Australian Minister for Home Affairs, Peter Dutton MP, Alan Tudge MP, State Premiers and Health Ministers
We, the undersigned Australian Paediatricians and healthcare workers, write to express our very grave concerns regarding the extremely negative impact that detention of two children, Kopika (5years) and Tharunicaa (3years) Murugappan, is having on their development.
Childhood is short and requires the intense support not only of parents and family but of the community. What happens to a child during childhood experiences has lasting effects – both positive and negative across the lifespan. Today is the UN World Human Rights Day. We know the first 2000 days is extremely important for positive child development; Kopika and Tharunicaa have now been in Australian detention for 1000 days. The detention of these children in a remote offshore location contravenes the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Australia is a signatory. Social isolation, uncertainty and parental stress negatively impact social development and the capacity of the family to parent positively. The lack of community support does not assist parenting.
These children were born in the outback town of Biloela, Queensland and the family were contributing members of that community. The family have extensive support of that community and will be welcomed back into that community.
As paediatricians and health care practitioners, we request:
1. That the Prime Minister show compassion and use his discretionary powers to return these children and their parents to the town of Biloela, Queensland and allow this family to settle permanently in Australia.
2. That these children and their parents not be detained on Christmas Island any longer at the expense of the Australian taxpayer. The Australian people have shown much support for this family to return to Biloela and are not supportive of their ongoing detention.
3. That the Australian Government acknowledges that being a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child gives us the responsibility to avoid infringing children’s human rights.
Yours Sincerely,

Dr Kathryn Browning Carmo PhD

Distinguished Professor Elizabeth Elliott AM

Ass Professor Hasantha Gunasekera PhD

Professor David Isaacs

Dr Greg Kelly FRACP JFICM

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