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Liberty Victoria previously made a submission to the Inquiry into the Conditions and Treatment of Asylum Seekers and Refugees at the Regional Processing Centres in the Republic of Nauru and Papua New Guinea (former Inquiry). This submission into the serious allegations of abuse, self-harm and neglect of asylum seekers in relation to the Nauru Regional Processing Centre and Manus Regional Processing Centre updates the Committee on Liberty Victoria’s position regarding the healthcare provided to asylum seekers in Regional Processing Centres (RPCs).
Liberty Victoria’s April 2016 submission to the former inquiry lamented that the Moss Report had been, at that stage, 8 months without any recommendations being implemented, including recommendations regarding the safety of asylum seekers, responding to abuse, access to medical care and provision of services. It has now been close to 15 months that have elapsed since the Moss Report was handed down.
Despite the lack of transparency and independent evaluation of the RPC's permitted by the Australian government, the evidence summarised in the current submission clearly indicates that medical care provided to asylum seekers is troubling and RPC’s are managed with a poor level of medical oversight, services and delivery which have, on many accounts, resulted in serious injuries and deaths.
Swift government action is now required in order to prevent further harm from occurring at Australian controlled RPCs.
In November three Liberty Victoria Policy Committee members, Julian Burnside QC, Matthew Albert and Gemma Leigh-Dodds attended a public hearing for this inquiry. The transcript of the Hansard evidence for the hearing in Melbourne can be accessed here, The transcript section is at pp 32-7. They were faced with some pretty gnarly questions and YLLR's report 'Operation Secret Borders' got an excellent review, with Senator McKim following the team out the door to personally offer his congratulations on its quality. This is a great credit to the YLLR volunteers who worked on this project and their supervisors.