Refugees banished from Oz to Nauru atoll inhumane, says MSF
HUMANITARIAN medical professionals expelled from Nauru said yesterday that asylum seekers Australia had banished to the tiny Pacific atoll were suicidal and their children had lost hope.
The Nauru government forced Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières ) out of the country last week, abruptly ending its free medical care for asylum seekers refugees and local Nauruans.
The US has agreed to resettle up to 2 500 refugees that Australia sent to Papua New Guinea and Nauru.
Australia adopted a policy five years ago to prevent asylum seekers from trying to reach Australian shores by boat by refusing to allow any boat arrivals from ever making Australia their home.
Doctors with the group in Sydney said they had treated 78 refugee patients who either attempted suicide, had suicidal thoughts or had harmed themselves.
“Five years of indefinite limbo have led to a radical deterioration of their mental health and well-being,” the group’s Australia executive director Paul McPhun said. “Separating families, holding men, women and children on a remote island indefinitely with no hope of protection except in the case of a medical emergency, is cruel and inhumane.”
McPhun said Australia’s policy of indefinite offshore detention “destroyed their resilience, shattered all hope and ultimately impacted their mental health.”
Many children were suffering trauma and unable to eat, drink or talk.
A PATIENT being attended to by a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Australia mental health team in Nauru.