A non-politically aligned, independent organisation, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been kicked out of Nauru.

MSF was providing mental health care to people being detained as part of offshore processing. The people on Nauru intended to reach Australia, initially.

It seemed impossible that the government could further diminish international health-related support for asylum seekers who are being processed offshore. But they’ve found a way.

Without basis, MSF has been forced off the Pacific Island. The only explanation provided by the Nauruan health minister was that psychological and psychiatric services were “no longer required on the island”.

CEH comanager Alison Coelho has expressed her concern: “The Australian government has done it again: Wreaked havoc on the lives of innocent people and washed its hands of all responsibility.”

“People being detained have experienced serious trauma and unequivocally require mental health care. The trauma isn’t simply a result of having to flee war-torn countries, it is compounded by their present treatment,” she said.

In 2016, leaked files revealed seven reports of sexual assault of children in detention. 59 reports of assault on children, 30 of self-harm involving children and 159 of threatened self-harm involving children have also been reported. Prolonged and uncertain detainment causes chronic distress to children and adults. Mental health services, that are culturally appropriate and supported by translated health information, are seriously needed in Nauru.

“Political outcomes are being placed before people’s health. People are being denied access to proper mental healthcare,” Alison said “We call on the federal government to let the Nauru government know this is unacceptable. Enough is enough.”

Image source: Medecins sans frontieres

 

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