Good news (for a change)

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Baby Ferouz Myuddin and his mother Latifar. Photo: Maurice Blackburn Lawyers

BABY FEROUZ AND HIS FAMILY RELEASED FROM DARWIN DETENTION

Baby Ferouz Myuddin and his family have been released from detention in Darwin. Ferouz was born in Brisbane two months after his Rohingya parents arrived on Christmas Island seeking asylum. The family have been involved in a long-running legal battle with the government over whether the boy could apply for a protection visa as he was born in Australia. The government argued that he could not because he was an unauthorised maritime arrival and the Federal Court agreed.

Last month the Coalition announced that Ferouz and 30 other babies in similar situations would be allowed to apply for short-term visas while their families' refugee claims were assessed. Other Australian-born babies and their families had also been released from detention over the past few days. Their lawyer, Murray Watt, said Ferouz and his family were now staying with family in Melbourne.

"This opportunity has been a long time coming. Ferouz has spent every night since leaving hospital living in detention and now finally, after more than a year he has been released, along with his parents and siblings, to join relatives living in Melbourne."

He said Ferouz's family could now apply for temporary protection visas to remain in Australia.

VIETNAM LEGALISES SAME SEX MARRIAGE

On January 1, Vietnam introduced a law that abolishes regulations that “prohibit marriage between people of the same sex”. Vietnam has also allowed gay organisations to be established and in the summer permitted a gay pride bicycle ride with rainbow flags in Hanoi. The ASEAN Pride Festival in May last year was also the first time a music festival to raise awareness of LGBT issues was allowed in Vietnam.

The issue now is legal rights. At present, while same sex marriage is legal in Vietnam, when a gay couple ends their relationship, or if one were to die, there is no legal framework for how to split assets.

FIRST NEW UNIVERSITY TO OPEN IN ROJAVA

A new university will open in September in Qamişlo in the Cizîrê Canton of Rojava. The university will be the first to open since the beginning of the Rojava Revolution. A group of academics decided to open the university “to build the foundation of an educational system based on the Democratic Nation model that is the model for democracy for the Kurdish people in the 21st Century. In this way we want to build an institutional structure that can help serve in producing moral and political social understanding.” The university consists of three departments: law, sociology and history. Students will also train to be teachers. Classes will be conducted in Arabic and Kurdish.

KURDS POISED TO RETAKE KOBANE

Kurdish forces have recaptured most of Kobane in recent weeks and ISIS now controls just 20% of the town, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Last year, town after town was overrun by ISIS, which was then on the verge of taking Kobane. But in the face of fierce Kurdish fighters —including many women —ISIS forces were unable to capture Kobane and are now on the verge of being pushed out altogether. An estimated 1600 people have been killed in the fight for Kobane, 1000 or more of those deaths being ISIS militants.

“Kobane has become a huge symbol. Everyone knows Kobane, it’s where the Kurds stopped ISIS,” said Mutlu Civiroglu, a Kurdish affairs analyst.

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