Calls for improved care in offshore detention

Paul Hayes

23/11/2017 9:04:23 AM

The Federal Government has neglected its duty to provide asylum seekers and refugees in offshore detention centres with the best available level of healthcare, RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel told newsGP.

Conditions in the Manus Island detention centre have continued to deteriorate. Photo supplied.
Conditions in the Manus Island detention centre have continued to deteriorate. Photo supplied.

‘Our government has failed to uphold its ethical obligations in accordance with international law and human rights standards,’ Dr Seidel told newsGP. ‘The standard of care patients are receiving in these centres is anything but acceptable.’
Following the recent closure of the Australian-run Manus Island detention centre in Papua New Guinea, nearly 400 asylum seekers have refused to leave because they fear for their safety in the community. This has resulted in a situation in which people are living in squalid conditions with little-to-no medicine.
According to UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) spokesperson Nai Jit Lam, the situation is a ‘damning indictment of a policy meant to avoid Australia’s international obligations’ and is ‘deteriorating by the day’.
Dr Seidel reiterated the RACGP position on healthcare for refugees and asylum seekers, saying the level of care available in all of Australia’s offshore detention centres must be addressed immediately.
‘I urge the Government to remove children and their families from detention centres and release them into the Australian community, as a matter of urgent priority,’ he said. ‘As the peak professional body representing Australian GPs, the RACGP will continue to advocate for GPs working in offshore detention, as well as for their patients.’

UPDATE: Papua New Guinea police officers have entered the Manus Island detention centre and directed the remaining men vacate the decommissioned facility.
‘The Australian taxpayers have paid about $10 million for a new facility and we want people to move,’ Federal Immigration Minister Peter Dutton told Sydney radio station 2GB this morning. ‘Obviously, it is in the end an issue for [Papua New Guinea] police and the authorities up there, but there is an operation involving police at the centre this morning.’


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