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AMSA Global Health calls on Australian Government to end our shame

02 Aug 2017


The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) is calling on the Federal Government to end its harsh treatment of refugees and people seeking asylum in Australia following the recent article published in the Lancet: “Ending our shame: calling for a fundamental reconsideration of refugee policy in Australia.”


As the peak representative body for Australia’s 17,000 medical students, AMSA supports the position outlined in the correspondence highlighting how Australia’s current refugee policy jeopardises the fundamental right of appropriate healthcare.


Co-Author and AMSA Global Health Chair, Elizabeth Bennett, says: “Overwhelming evidence suggests that indefinite detention deleteriously and often irreversibly impacts mental health, which has been demonstrated in numerous high-profile cases, including the self immolation of Omid Masoumali and Hodan Yasin and the disastrous levels of self harm exposed in the Save the Children and Nauru files reports.


“It is clear that there are alternative, humane ways to process refugees without adding to the trauma many of them have already faced.


“The persecution of people seeking asylum by the media and governments in Australia and internationally serves only to cause division, not protect human life or earnestly work towards a solution to the displacement of innocent people.


In line with AMSA policy, the article calls upon the government to stop the inhumane treatment of refugees and people seeking asylum.


“In order to achieve this, we call upon the Government to institute a 90 day maximum processing time for people seeking asylum, restore funding to the UNHCR, lift restrictions on visiting and reporting on conditions in detention centres, allow people on bridging visas full access to Medicare and Centrelink, and show a commitment to rehabilitating those traumatised by the cause of their displacement and the process of seeking asylum,” says Miss Bennett.


“We ask that the Government put a stop to the ineffective and dangerous policy of deterrence they pursue.”


Miss Bennett says: “As future medical professionals, we have an obligation to stand firmly against the mistreatment of people at the hands of our Government. The medical students of Australia believe it is well and truly time to end our shame.”


Media Contacts:

Elizabeth Bennett


Phone: 0409 269 093


Isabella Gosper


Phone: 0457 252 888


Ending our shame: call for a fundamental reconsideration of Australian refugee policy, The Lancet, July 2017:


Published: 02 Aug 2017