22, Oct 2018
Nearly 6,000 Australian doctors have called on Australia’s government to move all children being held in the detention centre on Nauru due to “serious mental and physical health concerns,” the Guardian reported on October 15. Around 5% of all registered doctors in Australia had signed a letter being sent to Prime Minister Scott Morrison. The Australian Medical Association’s (AMA) paediatric representative Dr. Paul Bauert, who has treated refugees on Nauru, termed the situation “unconscionable,” and said to reporters, “This is the only situation I’ve come across where it is deliberate government policy which is causing the pain and suffering of these children”. According to Bauert, nearly all children held on Nauru are traumatised. On Monday, October 22, local media reported that 11 children were transferred from Nauru for medical attention. The Guardian had previously reported that the AMA had pushed for families and children to be transferred from Nauru, and preferably brought to mainland Australia to ensure their mental and physical wellbeing. However, Morrison rejected this, saying he would not “put at risk any element of Australia’s border protection policy”. Previously in October, the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR), and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) had also called for refugees and asylum-seekers to be moved from Nauru, with UNHCR highlighting the “collapsing health situation” at off-shore facilities on Nauru and Papua New Guinea.