Media release

AMA Calls for Health and Wellbeing Assurances for Manus Island Asylum Seekers


The AMA is calling for assurances that the health and wellbeing of asylum seekers on Manus Island is being protected amid conditions being described as ‘chaotic’ and ‘dangerous’, as detainees are being forced to move from the closing detention centre to alternative accommodation in the community.

AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, said today that disturbing reports were emerging from Manus about lack of access to food, water, and medications, and unsanitary conditions such as blocked toilets and unsuitable accommodation.

Dr Gannon said that putting the asylum seekers into a dangerous and unhealthy situation was totally unacceptable.

“The Government has a responsibility to ensure the safety, health, and wellbeing of all the detainees on Manus, and we will be seeking assurances to that effect,” Dr Gannon said.

 “The AMA has been concerned about the health care for asylum seekers in off-shore detention for many years.

 “People seeking asylum who are under the care of the Australian Government must be provided with proper health care.

 “Many asylum seekers have complex mental and physical health needs.

 “The AMA has previously raised their circumstances with the Government as the remote detention facilities are often not able to provide the care needed.

 “It is clear that the current situation on Manus is unhealthy and dangerous.”

 Dr Gannon said the AMA has been advised that IHMS has been contracted to provide primary health care and mental health care at the East Lorengau Transit Centre once the detention centre has been closed.

 “We welcome this move as it will ensure continuity of care, but we need to see an urgent and smooth transition to a safe environment for the detainees.

 “The AMA acknowledges the efforts of the dedicated medical staff and other health workers who are working in very trying conditions.

 “Proper health care must be available to the asylum seekers on Manus who are under the care of the Australian authorities.

 “Regardless of how they arrived in Australia, these people have fled places of conflict and unrest and have sought asylum and refugee status. They must be treated as any other person in need of health care.

 “It is unacceptable that access to electricity and water has been cut off, as reported.

 “It is even more unacceptable that medical care and medications may have been used as an inducement to move people to another location.

 “The AMA calls on the Australian Government to ensure the asylum seekers are treated humanely, and that food, water, medical care, and appropriate and safe living conditions are provided as a matter of urgency.”

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