A group of medical doctors said that mental health conditions at Australia offshore detention center have been developing to inhumane levels. They revealed that 60% of refugees on Nauru experienced suicidal attempts. In a report by Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), 30% of asylum seekers, children as young as nine years inclusive given treatment on the Pacific Island have made attempts to take their own lives.
About 129 out of 208 patients (representing 62%) seen by the doctors were diagnosed with mild or severe depression and 60% of refugees have resignation syndrome. Resignation syndrome is an uncommon condition leaving patients in a semi-comatose state as well as inability to drink or eat.
This situation is seeing as one that calls for urgent and drastic change. Stewart Condon, president of MSF Australia, is calling on the Australian Government to end offshore processing immediately.
Unacceptable and Inhumane Conditions
The president of MSF explained that the observed extensive feeling of hopelessness is as a result of being caught in indefinite limbo for five years with processes deemed unclear and unjust. Detention puts people mental health in serious danger as confirmed by evidence, he retorted. He affirmed that it is an unacceptable, inhumane and very dangerous situation.
Addressing the situation, Dr Christine Rufener, MSF Australia psychologist, revealed that some refugees no longer have any ray of hope. He said he worried daily about which of his patients might make a suicide attempt on their lives, not a condition of ‘if’.
The report by MSF, tagged Indefinite Despair, coincides with protesters gathering outside Parliament House clamoring for immediate removal of refugees from detention. Other rallies target the offices of MPs as well as Immigration Minister.
A bill to ensure the immediate evacuation of all critically ill asylum seekers, unable to be treated offshore, has been introduced to parliament by Kerryn Phelps. This will override the current ability of Australia’s Immigration Minister to veto request for patients’ transfer by doctors. Phelps said it is horrendous to see children being pushed to the point of losing will to live.
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