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Medical students call for the removal of all asylum seeker children from Nauru

20 Aug 2018

Media release

20 August 2018

 The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) calls on the Australian Government to urgently remove all asylum seeker children and their families in Nauru from harm.

AMSA is the peak representative body of Australia’s 17,000 medical students and opposes mandatory detention on the grounds that detention harms health. AMSA joins the Australian Medical Association in its call for the Government to act urgently to prevent further harm to the children and their families.

AMSA is further calling for the children to be brought to Australia with their families, where their health and wellbeing can be guaranteed.

“Repeated reports of the deteriorating mental and physical health of children on Nauru have led to a crisis point. Australia has a responsibility towards these children and must ensure they are protected from harm,” AMSA President, Alex Farrell, said.

Currently, there are several critically unwell children on Nauru, including a young boy at risk of imminent death.

“Detention is harmful to health and children are a particularly vulnerable group. All children have a right to grow up safe from harm. The situation on Nauru is unconscionable, and the children and their families must be removed,” Ms Farrell said.

Ms Adele Evans, the coordinator of AMSA Crossing Borders, AMSA's advocacy group for refugee and asylumseeker health, said that these health crises are becoming far too common in detention centres.

 "We have seen self-harm, suicide attempts, physical assaults, and sexual assaults. In June, it was a terminally ill man. This week, it is a young boy whose life hangs in the balance as the Australian Government refuses to provide the healthcare he needs," Ms Evans said.

 "The Australian Government must act and remove these children from detention to remove them from any further harm."

 In keeping with the Australian Medical Association and other peak medical bodies, AMSA also reiterates its call for the Australian Government to allow an independent medical body access into offshore detention centres to ensure that they are protecting the health and wellbeing of refugees and asylum seekers. 

Adequate and appropriate healthcare services are clearly not available in the detention centres of Manus and Nauru. The Australian Government must be transparent about whether these services are at a standard equal to what is available in Australia.


Media Contact

RJ Seastres

M 0423 648 688



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Published: 20 Aug 2018