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Australia’s future doctors stand with the medical community for the removal of children from Nauru

27 Sep 2018


The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) calls on the Australian Government to urgently transfer refugee and asylum seeker children and their families from Nauru to Australia for appropriate medical assessment and treatment.


Today, Australia’s peak medical organisations launched the #DoctorsForAsylumSeekers social media campaign for the urgent removal of refugee and asylum seeker children from Nauru. AMSA, the peak representative body of Australia’s 17,000 medical students, stands with the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP), Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), and the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM).


AMSA President Ms Alex Farrell said, "With mounting reports of the deteriorating mental and physical health of children on Nauru, they must be brought to Australia with their families. This is a medical crisis.


"The children are in desperate need of urgent assessment in a facility with specialist tertiary level child health services. Nauru does not provide the required services for the assessment and appropriate treatment of the children's physical, developmental, and psychiatric health."


Numerous accounts of self-harm and suicide attempts throughout the year, including the recent reports involving children, are inextricably linked to the negative health outcomes caused by detention. Medical students have consistently advocated for refugee and asylum seeker health through its advocacy project AMSA Crossing Borders this year.


AMSA Crossing Borders Coordinator Ms Adele Evans said, "The future doctors of Australia are united with the medical community in raising our increasing concerns with the government's offshore detention policies. We know that detention harms the health and wellbeing of refugees and asylum seekers.


"Children are a particularly vulnerable group and keeping them in offshore detention centres precludes them from their right to grow up safe from harm. The Australian government have the responsibility to keep these children, and their families, away from the harms of detention.”


“Medical students join other medical organisations today to say that the physical and mental health of children on Nauru must be prioritised. As medical professionals, our first job is to care for people, especially children. This must be our guiding principle,” said Ms Farrell.


“It is time for Australia to remove refugee and asylum seeker children from Nauru."


The #DoctorsForAsylumSeekers campaign encourages doctors and medical students to post a photo of themselves with a sign of the statement "I call for the urgent removal of asylum seeker children and their families from Nauru" on their social media pages. More information about how to get involved with the campaign can be found on the AMSARACPRACGP, and ACEM Twitter pages.


Published: 27 Sep 2018