Intended for healthcare professionals


Australian medical leaders call for urgent action on reports of abuse of immigrant detainees

BMJ 2016; 354 doi: (Published 12 August 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;354:i4454
  1. Michael Woodhead
  1. Sydney

Leaked reports of horrific conditions and widespread abuse of asylum seekers in an Australian immigration detention centre have prompted calls from medical groups to open up the camps to independent oversight.

Michael Gannon, president of the Australian Medical Association (AMA), said that the government needed to respond urgently to the 2000 incident reports compiled by staff of the Nauru offshore processing centre that showed that detainees, including women and children, were experiencing abuse, trauma, self harm, sexual assault, inadequate health services, and deplorable living conditions.

“These disturbing reports echo long held concerns by the AMA about the lack of proper physical and mental healthcare being provided to people in immigration detention,” Gannon said in response to the reports published by the Guardian newspaper.1

Gannon said that there was too much secrecy around immigration detention centres, and he called on the Australian government …

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