Doctor describes “shameful” medical neglect at Australian refugee prison camp


Doctor describes “shameful” medical neglect at Australian refugee prison camp

Max Newman

15 November 2017

Nick Martin, a doctor who worked at the Australian-run refugee camp on the small Pacific island of Nauru, has revealed the inhumane and dangerous conditions forced upon the nearly 400 asylum seekers, including 43 children, who have been detained for more than four years.

“To treat these refugees and asylum seekers with absolute contempt and medical neglect—that is just shameful,” the doctor told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), which conducted a joint investigation with BuzzFeed News.

“The trauma being experienced daily by the kids in particular was just unbelievable, I had never seen anything like it,” he said.

Martin spent 10 months, from November 2016 to August 2017, working as a senior medical officer for the International Medical and Health Services (IHMS), a private company contracted by the Australian government to oversee the medical facilities for detainees.

He is the most senior official who worked at Nauru to publicly speak out against the medical consequences of the Australian “border protection” regime, in which thousands of asylum seekers have been incarcerated on Nauru or Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island.

The detainees on Nauru, Martin said, have “been put at harm and knowingly, wilfully are coming to medical harm because of the policies put in place by the Australians.”

He added: “[T]here are people that are in pain every day, they have huge psychiatric issues and psychological troubles, and this is solely because of this hideous policy of keeping people in offshore detention for unbelievable lengths of time.”

These punitive policies were re-launched by the Greens-backed Gillard Labor government in 2012. It…

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