Last year, a humanitarian crisis unfolded on Manus Island for people seeking asylum and refugees detained offshore by the Australian government. People detained on Nauru have also been suffering from medical neglect of complex conditions such as kidney stones, breast lumps, diabetes and neurological damage, unable to get the treatment doctors are prescribing for them.
Medical conditions deteriorate
Australian doctors are increasingly concerned for the medical condition of people seeking asylum and refugees on Manus and Nauru.
Australian Border Force (ABF) has been blocking or delaying medical transfers for people to access urgent medical treatment for complex and serious conditions like heart attacks, kidney stones and neurological damage.
ABF is repeatedly ignoring diagnosis and recommendations of treating doctors and medical specialists, while people’s health deteriorates and they are kept in prolonged physical and mental pain and distress.
Our indefinite mandatory detention system continues to traumatise vulnerable people and abuse their human right to medical care.
The ASRC responds to the medical crisis
The ASRC has responded to the medical crisis by supporting the men, women and children on Manus Island and Nauru through our Detention Advocacy Program and #EvacuateNow campaigning and advocacy.
Over the past two months, the ASRC has focused its efforts on providing medical advocacy – raising cases of inadequate medical treatment with authorities, and pushing for people to be transferred to receive appropriate medical care.
These efforts have been important in gaining medical treatments for people suffering from serious and critical illnesses.
The detention advocacy program has also been dedicated to providing emotional support, suicide intervention, investigation of legal avenues to achieve positive outcomes, and other referrals to people in onshore and offshore detention.
The program currently supports 82 people with urgent and acute issues, and provides ongoing assistance to a further 97 people. This is an increase of around 80 people from October 2017.
Our #EvacuateNow campaign efforts continued with the release of the Manus Report following the ASRC’s visit to Manus Island at the end of November 2017.
Following the report, the ASRC met with and briefed key politicians on the outcome of our visit and continued to advocate for the only fair and safe solution for people detained offshore – to be immediately evacuated.
Thousands of people responded to calls to contact the PM and local MPs demanding that people be evacuated now.
Doubling resources to support people seeking asylum in detention
To support the ASRC’s efforts to respond to escalating crisis in offshore detention centres, Sandra Bartlett has joined Natasha Blucher in our Detention Advocacy Program as a Detention Casework Coordinator, doubling the capacity of the program to support people in detention onshore and offshore, and allowing for an increased focus on systemic advocacy, in addition to continuing with individual work.
The ASRC is a part of a powerful national community of advocates, activists and grass roots campaigners.
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