Lawyers argue deaf child asylum seeker’s right to hearing aid

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A cochlear implant (Photo: Zipfer/Wikimedia Commons). (A cochlear implant (Photo: Zipfer/Wikimedia Commons))

On Tuesday the preliminary injunction court in Haarlem tried the case on whether or not 4-year-old deaf failed asylum seeker Kalma had the right to an operation that will make her able to hear. The lawyers' arguments focused mainly on whether the operation on the deaf girl is a "medical necessity", AD reports.

Kalma and her parents fled from the Taliban in Afghanistan to the Netherlands two years ago. Their request for asylum was recently rejected. In the two years the family lived in the Netherlands, they discovered that Kalma is deaf in both ears. A hearing implant, which costs 60 thousand euros, may help her hear again. Normally Kalma would be entitled to this operation, but seeing as her family's asylum application was rejected, the case ended up in court.

The parents, supported by Defence for children, believe that Kalma is entitled to this "necessary" surgery while she is in the Netherlands, according to international treaties. There is almost no chance that the girl will be able to get such a surgery back in Afghanistan. The surgery is also time sensitive - the procedure combined with the recovery period is a long term process and needs to be done before her 5th birthday for the greatest chance of success. Kalma turned 4 last week.

The family's lawyer argued that only a doctor can decide what is medically necessary and denying the girl this surgery is a violation of her human rights. The State earlier determined that the surgery is not necessary because Kalma is not in mortal danger.

The court will rule on February 1st.

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