Natasha Blucher is a Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network advocate helping to care for baby Asha.
Natasha Blucher is a Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network advocate helping to care for baby Asha. Contributed

Baby Asha’s advocate banned from visiting family

NATASHA Blucher has spent two years forging a strong relationship with the parents of one of Australia's smallest immigration detainees.

The Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network advocate is the rock that mum Abhaya and dad Vijay are clinging to while their 12-month-old daughter Asha is a patient at Brisbane's Lady Cilento Hospital.

Asha was admitted to the hospital last month after a boiling water incident while detained on Nauru.

She has almost recovered from the massive burn on her body, but hospital staff will not release her until "a suitable home environment" is found for the youngster.

The family are set to return to Nauru once Asha is discharged.

Abhaya and Vijay are struggling to hold things together after SERCO security guards - employed by the Federal Government - stopped Ms Blucher from seeing them.

SUPPORT FOR REFUGEES: Activists raise awareness outside Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in Brisbane.
SUPPORT FOR REFUGEES: Activists raise awareness outside Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in Brisbane. DAN PELED

Yesterday the guards continued to block her from entering Lady Cilento despite her initially having government approval to be there.

"I had an approval (to visit them) all day on Tuesday," Ms Blucher said.

"I went outside to do some more work and when I got back up to the ward, the SERCO officer said 'Your visit is retracted, you no longer have approval, and you must leave immediately'."

Ms Blucher contacted Australian Border Force officials who said there was a "mix up with your paperwork" and asked her to resubmit her application to visit.

She did this but has been unable to get anyone at the ABF to return her calls.

Ms Blucher believes she was banned from seeing the family because she spoke to journalists about baby Asha's plight.

Thousands of Australians are lobbying to keep Asha, and about 35 other babies born in detention from returning to Nauru.

Ms Blucher said she has been in touch with the family by phone and they were distraught at not being able to see her.

She pleaded with Immigration Minister Peter Dutton to allow her to continue to see the family.

"If it's about me talking to the media, I'm completely happy to stop that if they would just let me back into the hospital," she said.

"My priority is this family."

Mr Dutton did not respond to our request for comment.

A Department of Immigration and Border Protection spokesman would not reveal why Ms Blucher was banned from seeing the family.


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