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Australian doctor challenges government over child detention “torture”

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i550 (Published 28 January 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i550
  1. Michael Woodhead
  1. 1Sydney

One of Australia’s leading paediatricians has invited the government to arrest and prosecute him for defying a new law that gags healthcare workers from speaking about conditions in detention centres for asylum seekers.

David Isaacs, clinical professor in paediatric infectious diseases at the University of Sydney, said that he witnessed appalling and inhumane conditions for children while working in Australia’s offshore immigration detention centre on the Pacific island of Nauru.

He also claimed that the Australian government was maintaining a media blackout and a culture of secrecy around the conditions in detention centres.

In a recent paper published in the Journal of Medical Ethics,1 Isaacs said that keeping children in long term and indefinite detention met the definition of …

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