September 24, 2018


Doctors for Justice are calling for the government to immediately transfer all remaining children and their families from Nauru to Australia for assessment and treatment.

Professor Louise Newman a Convenor of D4J said “we are witnessing a major medical emergency. Over 100 children are at risk of harm on Nauru as a result of the deterioration in their mental and physical health.   Some are at risk of death.   There are children as young as ten who are suicidal and developing Resignation Syndrome – a state of severe withdrawal.  These children need immediate care and treatment which is not available on Nauru.

These refugees are Australia’s responsibility.  Our government transferred them to Nauru more than five years ago and into harm’s way. The Commonwealth Government’s duty of care requires them to provide adequate health care.  Currently, recommendations made by doctors for transfer to suitable facilities are being overridden by Border Force resulting in dangerous situations caused by delaying and denying patient care.

The Federal Court has confirmed that Australia is responsible for the care of the person needing treatment, and there is extensive independent clinical evidence to support demands for individual patients to be transferred to Australia for appropriate treatment.

It is never acceptable for children to be held in detention.  A wide body of literature shows quite clearly that there will be lifelong trauma for these children given their circumstances”.

Dr Sara Townend from Doctors for Justice said that “Doctors working on Nauru have been sacked or their contracts not renewed because they recommend transfers for their patients.  It is disturbing that their attempts at providing good medical care are thwarted“.

Doctors for Justice calls for an immediate amnesty for all children and families on Nauru in the face of clear evidence of the severe harm that is being caused.

“The blind adherence to the policy of offshore processing and housing of asylum seekers and refugees is unsustainable and predictably results in mental deterioration of all trapped in circumstances where hope is lost” said Professor Newman.



Professor Louise Newman AM Convenor, Doctors for Justice 0418453447

Dr Sara Townend Doctors for Justice 0421333316

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