PM Morrison must act now to stop escalating Nauru crisis

With the critical situation on Nauru deteriorating even further, Amnesty International is calling on the Australian Government to show leadership and urgently bring all refugees and asylum seekers to Australia, or a safe third country.

Dr Graham Thom, Amnesty International Australia’s Refugee Coordinator, said, “The Australian Chief Medical Officer has reportedly been deported, which will only compound the dire health situation for people on Nauru, including the more than 80 children who have suffered for over five years.

“Continuity of care is crucial for such a large number of refugees, including children with such complex health needs, but that’s clearly impossible in such a volatile situation.

“These children desperately need our help. Prime Minister Morrison cannot stall any longer with his calls for so-called ‘back-door’ legislation, especially as the New Zealand Government reiterated its concern only yesterday that such legislation would create ‘second-class citizens’.

“PM Scott Morrison has the power to bring these children and their families to safety in Australia today, and avert a possible catastrophe, such as the death of a child.”

The Australian Medical Association, which gathered the support of almost 6,000 doctors this week, has said, “[children] need to be assessed and treated as a matter of urgency. It’s a miracle we haven’t had a death already.”

Dr Thom said, “Several recent deportations by the Nauruan Government have had a detrimental impact on refugees and asylum seekers and their right to adequate health care. It has stopped Médecins Sans Frontières from providing vital mental health support, and moved to deport another Australian Chief Medical Officer just a month after sending home the former position holder. Refugees and asylum seekers with high health needs, including children, are obviously not being put at the forefront of decision making.

“The time to act is now, and we call on the Australian Government and our Prime Minister to provide the leadership our country, and its values, demand.”