The organisation has urged the Australian government to “urgently commit” to alignment with Australia’s international human rights obligations in a statement.
“Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s recent comments about the Migration Amendment (Urgent Medical Treatment) Bill 2018 do not reflect the purpose of the bill, which seeks to ensure that people who are assessed as requiring medical treatment by two or more doctors are transferred to Australia so they can access the treatment they need,” said ALHR’s refugee rights subcommittee chair Jessica Bayley.
“Medical practitioners are best placed to make decisions about the medical treatment a person needs.
“If the bill results in people being transferred to Australia due to an urgent need for medical treatment not available in the regional processing country, the bill should be passed without delay.”
Further, Ms Bayley said “offshore processing has created inhumane and dangerous conditions that have caused significant mental and physical damage to individuals”, highlighting that 12 people have lost their lives, including eight people who have died as a result of suicide and inadequate healthcare.
“As medical practitioners have warned, this number will continue to rise if the government does not act,” Ms Bayley continued.
“Instead of demonising people who have already suffered for many years and who are entitled to seek Australia’s protection under international human rights law, the Australian government should be focused on preventing any more deaths as a result of offshore processing.”
The latest call from ALHR comes after the launch of two parallel class actions in the High Court of Australia late last year for the remaining asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru, as well as comments from the Law Council of Australia backing previous parliamentary efforts to remove mentally and physically ill adult and children asylum seekers from Nauru.