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1000 Australian future doctors sign letter opposing Australia’s indefinite offshore detention policies #DoctorsForAsylumSeekers

03 Oct 2018

The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA), the peak representative body of 17,000 Australian medical students, calls on the Australian government to abolish its policies of indefinite offshore detention of refugees and asylum seekers.


AMSA President Alex Farrell said: "The evidence is clear that detention harms health. This can no longer be in dispute.


“We are proud to stand with the Australian Medical Association, the Australasian College of Emergency Medicine, Royal Australian College of Physicians, Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, and Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine, in calling for the removal of asylum seeker and refugee children and their families from detention on Nauru.”


Medical students across Australia have signed a letter against Australia's offshore detention policies, solidifying AMSA's stance on the issue of indefinite offshore detention. 


Australia's current policies contravene key international treaties and declarations to which Australia is a party.


"With more than 1,000 signatures and growing, this letter shows that Australian medical students understand that we cannot remain silent while children continue to be denied appropriate psychiatric care, or young men die from sepsis,” Ms Farrell said.


AMSA Crossing Borders, AMSA's Project advocating for refugee and asylum seeker health and human rights, has been leading the advocacy on this important issue to Australian medical students.


AMSA Crossing Borders Coordinator Ms Adele Evans said: “Recent reports of deteriorating physical and mental health, self-harm, suicidality, and resignation syndrome are further evidence of the escalating health crisis on Nauru and Manus Island. This is a humanitarian emergency that can no longer be ignored by the Australian Government."


The letter also reiterates calls from the medical community that have gone unheard by the Australian Government.


Ms Evans said: "We want an independent medical body to have access to offshore detention centres and ensure that they are protecting the health and wellbeing of refugees and asylum seekers.


“We want transparency about whether healthcare services in Nauru and Manus Island are at a standard equal to what is available in Australia.


“We want the Australian Government to remove all refugees and asylum seekers, especially children and their families, from offshore detention to protect them from any further harm.


“With the increasing number of health crises and deaths in these inhumane settings, the time for the Australian Government to abolish these inhumane policies is now."


Australian medical students can sign the open letter here.


Media Contact:

RJ Seastres

0423 648 688

Published: 03 Oct 2018