An open letter to the Australian Parliament regarding the health of asylum seekers and refugees on Manus Island

MJA Insight, 27 November 2017
Author: David Watters et al.
“We are senior Australian clinicians who write in our individual capacity to express our concerns about the ongoing health and well-being of the former detainees still based on Manus Island and now in alternative accommodation. They, like all human beings, have a universal right – enshrined in the United Nations charter – to health and well-being. Their political and citizenship status should not affect this right. All politicians regardless of their political party should respect the human right to health and themselves be strong advocates of “health for all” without discrimination.”
Find letter here.

‘The system here is broken’: Secret recording reveals failures of offshore detention regime

SMH, 15 May 2017
Author: Michael Koziol
“Two refugees under Australia’s care in Nauru are desperately seeking medical evacuations to Australia to escape a health regime that a government-contracted doctor on the island has admitted is “broken”.”
Find article here.

Travel ban threatens medical research and access to care in the US, medical groups warn

BMJ 2017; 356:j545
Author: Michael McCarthy
“President Donald Trump’s executive order banning nationals from seven Muslim majority nations, as well as all refugees, from entering the county threatens to damage the quality of medical research and healthcare in the US, medical groups and academic centers have warned.”
Find article here.

Supporting human rights, one patient at a time

The BMJ Blog, 13 December 2016
Author: Katherine McKenzie
“I saw the first asylum seeker around ten years ago in my clinic. He came from a country with an autocratic president against whom he had peacefully protested. The government would not accept dissent from its citizens and they arrested, detained, and tortured him. He was released, but he was told that he would be killed for any future real or perceived opposition. He fled to the United States for safety, and eventually presented to my office for a medical forensic exam to document the scars of his torture.”
Find article here.

Doctors were under ‘political pressure’ in asylum seeker care, inquest hears

The Age, 29 November 2016
Source: AAP
“Doctors were under “political pressure” not to bring critically ill asylum seekers from Manus Island to Australia for medical treatment, an inquest has heard. A Brisbane inquest into the death of Iranian asylum seeker Hamid Kehazaei has heard evidence there are “levels of bureaucracy” surrounding urgent hospital transfers.”
Find article here.

Medical care and social justice in the jungles of Myanmar

The Lancet, 2016, 388 (10058), p2345–2347
Author: Timothy Holtz
“The past year was the worst year for displacement since World War 2. In 2015 alone, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, there were an estimated 12·4 million newly displaced individuals, including 8·6 million internally displaced people (IDPs) and 1·8 million refugees, quadrupling the number of newly displaced people in just 4 years. The sudden and urgent plight of persons from Syria caught up in a civil war is well known, but for more than 60 years the ethnic Kayin (Karen) in eastern Myanmar (Burma) have been enduring human rights violations, oppression, and displacement in their long struggle for human rights and autonomy.”
Find article here.

Doctors attack immigration department over Nauru and Manus Island medical cases

SMH, 6 November 2016
Author: Michael Koziol
“The Australian Medical Association has detailed shocking cases of apparent medical neglect, wasting and severe ill-health among asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru, and accused immigration bureaucrats of failing to adequately follow up cases.”
Find article here.

Australia backs down over jail terms for doctors who speak out about abuse of asylum seekers

BMJ 2016; 355: i5681
Author: Paul Smith
“Doctors for Refugees, an activist group, recently mounted a legal challenge to the act in the Australian High Court claiming that the secrecy provision breached constitutional rights to freedom of political communication. But it has now emerged that on 30 September the government amended the act, excluding health professionals from the definition “immigration and border protection workers.”
Find article here.

Direct Provision: Is this really the best we can do for those seeking asylum?

BMJ Blog, 19 October 2016
Author: Rosanna O’Keeffe
“When can we say enough is enough? Direct provision has been described as “an example of a government policy, which has not only bred discrimination, social exclusion, enforced poverty, and neglect but placed children at real risk.” When you reflect on Ireland’s recent dark history of institutionalisation—its facilitation of physical, sexual, and psychological abuse and violation of human rights (in Magdalene Laundries and industrial schools etc) —you must wonder are we all complicit in allowing history to repeat itself?”
Find article here.

Doctors for Refugees – Doctor March 5 November 2016

Doctors for Refugees, October 2016
Doctors for Refugees calls on all Australian doctors and their supporters — specifically other health professionals and indeed all concerned citizens — to march on November 5th in major Australian cities to demand humane treatment of asylum seekers and refugees.
Find more information here.
Dr David Berger has penned a powerful editorial in the BMJ, one of the world’s top four medical journals, demanding that the torture of innocent people cease and calling on doctors to march, see editorial here.