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26 Nov 2017

The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) has called for assurances that the health and wellbeing of asylum seekers on Manus Island are being protected. 

AMSA’s call comes amid fresh reports of force being used to remove refugees and asylum seekers from the former Regional Processing Centre. 

AMSA President, Rob Thomas, said AMSA’s concern for refugee safety follows an attempt yesterday to forcibly clear detainees from the closed detention centre to alternative accommodation - accommodation that has been described as ‘inadequate’ by the UNHCR (1). 

“AMSA is disturbed by the reported use of harassment and violence against this vulnerable population,” Mr Thomas said. 

Two men reportedly collapsed during the operation and were unable to be medically treated inside the centre, and many more detainees have long-term, complicated physical and mental health conditions that require appropriate and immediate care (2). 

There are also concerns for as many as 300 men who remain in the centre, with alarming reports emerging from Manus about lack of access to food, water, power and medications, and unsanitary conditions. 

AMSA Global Health Chair, Liz Bennett, said that putting the asylum seekers into a dangerous situation with limited access to welfare and healthcare services was unacceptable and unsafe. 

“AMSA has expressed concern about the health care of asylum seekers in offshore detention for many years and has previously raised concerns about the deleterious, and often irreversible, impacts of mandatory detention,” Ms Bennett said. 

“The detainees on Manus Island are under the care of the Australian Government and it has an obligation to take full responsibility for the protection, safety, and health and wellbeing of all refugees and asylum seekers. 

“Health is a fundamental human right and all detainees must be provided with proper health care, regardless of their method of arrival to Australia. 

“It is clear that the current situation on Manus is not adequate to deliver this care, and is as such, unacceptable and dangerous. 

“As future medical professionals, AMSA calls on the Australian Government to ensure that necessary resources such as food, water, shelter, and health care are provided as a matter of urgency,” Ms Bennett said. 

AMSA backs the Australian Medical Association’s calls upon the Federal Government to grant access to the Manus Island centre in order to provide independent assessment of the health and wellbeing of detainees and ensure appropriate treatment can be delivered (3). 







Media Contact: 

Doug Roche 

Vice President (External) 



Phone: 0450 926 900 

Published: 26 Nov 2017