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Medical students condemn the Government’s reinstatement of the inhumane offshore detention of asylum seekers in Nauru

2nd March 2023

Australian medical students firmly condemn the Australian Government’s 10-year reinstatement of offshore immigration detention in Nauru following its expiration in October 2022 due to grave and ongoing concerns for the basic health and human rights of all asylum seekers inside.

“This move from the Australian government perpetuates an inhumane system of torture and detention enforced on Nauru since 2012,” said Blessy Fernandez, AMSA Crossing Borders National Coordinator.
 “Despite the ideal opportunity to cease this brutal system of detention, the Australian Government has chosen to extend it for yet another decade, ensuring years more of brutal and unjust punishment for refugees seeking asylum, many of whom have already spent many years in Australia’s detention system,” said Ms Fernandez.
AMSA expresses profound concern for the extremely poor living conditions and abuse inflicted upon asylum seekers in Nauru, including acts of physical and sexual harassment, forcefeeding, violation of autonomy and privacy, and explicit violence.[1]

A report released by Medecin Sans Frontieres (MSF) exposes the horrifying mental health burden on asylum seekers in Nauru with almost two thirds being diagnosed with moderate to severe depression and one third having attempted suicide.[2] This data is amongst the worst mental health burden ever seen by MSF, even in projects treating victims of torture.
“The detrimental impact of detention on each refugee is profound. The absence of quality and timely medical and mental health treatment, inadequate living conditions and indefinite detention is akin to torture,” said Tish Sivagnanan, President of AMSA. 

“This system upheld by the Australian government is specifically designed to inflict harm and trauma on an already severely vulnerable population who are often fleeing persecution and harm in their homeland,” said Ms Sivagnanan.
AMSA stands with all refugees and asylum seekers in Nauru who are fighting for their freedom and justice in a system of abuse, neglect and torture enforced by the Australian government.

AMSA firmly call upon the Australia government to act immediately to:
End Australia’s offshore processing policy and evacuate all people seeking refuge and asylum from Nauru;
Amend the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) to prohibit mandatory and indefinite detention; 
Cease discrimination or differentiation of asylum claims based on mode of arrival;
Increase funding in the federal budget for health services that support people seeking refuge and asylum in the community.

AMSA is the peak representative body for Australia’s 18,000 medical students. AMSA Crossing Borders aims to engage, educate and promote advocacy and action for the health and human rights of refugee, asylum seekers, detainees, and undocumented migrants. AMSA Crossing Borders joins an international community of health professionals aiming to remove the stigma, incite conversation, and to command action to improve the health of refugee and asylum seekers both within and outside our borders.  

Media contacts
Tish Sivagnanan, AMSA President
[email protected]
0433 446 220

Mihan De Silva, Public Relations Officer
[email protected]
0406 944 567

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