An Australian hospital has refused to return an asylum-seeker baby to detention in Nauru, as momentum built across the country on Sunday against offshore Pacific camps for processing refugees.
Under the government’s tough immigration policy, asylum-seekers who try to reach Australia by boat are sent to detention camps in the Pacific island nations of Papua New Guinea and Nauru. They are blocked from being resettled in Australia even if found to be refugees. […]
“Doctors must expect to advocate for their patients,” Doctors For Refugees co-founder Richard Kidd, who has joined the vigil outside the hospital, said.
“We have … overwhelming evidence over many years now that detention does terrible harm to babies and children, particularly their mental health but also physical health.” – The Japan Times, February 14, 2016
Migrants rarely speak up, or protest, or mobilise, for fear of being detected, detained and deported if they are undocumented, or blacklisted if they are temporary migrant workers. It is therefore key that people who know them will speak up in their favour and let everyone know of their circumstances, thus dispelling the stereotypes and fantasies that the nationalist populist discourse propagates about them.
It is good to see professionals in public services take a stand in favour of the rights and dignity of migrants, in conformity with their public mission, the ethical framework that drives their work and basic principles of human decency.