UCF Global Perspectives


Nauru Law on Medical Transfers of Refugees

Nalani Garcia, Isle of Man Small Countries Fellow

February 20, 2019

Nauru’s government passed a law banning the medical transfer of refugees to Australia who receive a doctor referral using telehealth assessments, such as video call (Reuters). Nauru’s new law coincides with a recent vote in Australia’s parliament accepting the medical transfer of refugees from Manus and Nauru to Australia (Reuters). To accommodate those refugees, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morison re-opened the Christmas Island detention center which is on Australian territory (Amnesty). Those who are in favor of the medical transfers disapprove of the re-opening of the Christmas Island center and view it as evading the law (Guardian).

The Director of Global Thematic Issues at Amnesty International commented on the recent developments saying, “the human rights of refugees have slipped down Nauru and Australia’s agendas,” (Amnesty). Individuals have also criticized the medical supplies available on Christmas Island and the island’s local council “has said the island does not have sufficient medical facilities,” (Guardian). Some refugees need assistance from specialists for serious mental health problems which is not available on Christmas Island (Guardian). Any refugees that cannot be treated on the island will then be sent to Australia (Guardian).



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