Hamid Khazaei 12d - The Politics of Medical Transfers


The Politics of Medical Transfers

Banner hung in the aftermath of Hamid Khazaei's death, Manus Island RPC. It reads "From: DIBP. To: The management of IHMS. We would warmly appreciate your co-operation in regard to the delay of initial treatment and transfer of Hamid Khazay who was badly in need of special treatment and putting his life in danger of death."[imagecaption] Banner hung in the aftermath of Hamid Khazaei’s death, Manus Island RPC, 2014. Dr Nick Martin, a former senior medical officer on Nauru has stated, ‘These medical delays put in place are absolutely criminal.’Message written on a wall inside the Manus camp. It reads "you are working together to kill human. Your hands are dirty for Reza and Hamid death."Above: Message written on wall following Hamid’s death, Manus Island RPC, 2014. [/imagecaption]


The hospitals in Nauru, Lorengau and Port Morseby, are poorly equipped and inadequately resourced to provide proper treatment for refugees who may present with complex medical needs. Doctors often recommend medical transfers to Australia, where people can access the equipment, tests and specialists required. These are routinely overruled by the Department. Some Doctors have spoken publicly about how Australian Border Force obstructed and deliberately frustrated their ability to provide adequate and timely care for their patients. In 2015, the Department started transferring people on Nauru to Port Moresby in PNG for medical treatment to avoid transfers to Australia. The refusal to transfer people to Australia, even those with acute or potentially life-threatening medical problems continues to place peoples’ lives at risk.

Increased resistance to transferring people to Australia is a response to interventions by lawyers who have secured injunctions to prevent their clients from being returned to the offshore camps. At the beginning of 2016 thousands of people across Australia mobilised around the ‘#LetThemStay‘ campaign for 267 people who were transferred to Australia from Nauru and Manus and were at risk of being forcibly returned. The majority of those people are now in Australia in community detention or on bridging visas.



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