Kids off Nauru bill should prompt action to remove all refugees and asylum seekers from offshore detention
6 December 2018
Social justice law firm Maurice Blackburn is calling for the Australian Parliament to pass the bill to get children and sick adults out of offshore detention for medical assessment and treatment in Australia.
“We strongly support these amendments that aim to ensure timely medical assessment, treatment and transfer of refugees and asylum seekers in offshore detention,” said Jennifer Kanis, social practice manager at Maurice Blackburn.
“Over the past 10 months, Maurice Blackburn has acted pro bono to get more than 20 critically ill people off Nauru. Many of these have been children, some as young as six months old.
“These cases involve refugees with serious physical and psychological conditions, including serious bacterial and viral infections, and resignation syndrome.
“In a number of cases, the delay in access to medical treatment has risked serious and life-threatening consequences for our clients.
“Because of what we’ve seen through this work, we welcome any moves that ensure these vulnerable adults and children get the medical care that they need as quickly as possible.”
Ms Kanis rejected comments made today by Prime Minster Scott Morrison that the medical transfer bill would undermine border protection laws.
“This bill does nothing more or less than ensure that people get medical care in a timely fashion without having to go to court.”
She also said it was disappointing that legislation was required to get the Government to act.
“Today’s legislation would not be necessary if the Australian Government acted on its responsibility for the health of asylum seekers and refugees.
“The health crisis on Nauru and Manus also highlights the need to find a long-term and permanent solution for these people, most who have been found to be refugees. The uncertainty they experience over their future creates enormous stress and illness.”