Kids off Nauru a long overdue step, more must be done for those who remain in offshore detention

3 February 2019
Social justice law firm Maurice Blackburn has today said the move to remove children from Nauru has taken too long, with significant damage already done for many children and families as a result of lengthy offshore detention.

Maurice Blackburn head of Social Justice Jennifer Kanis said today’s announcement that the last remaining children on Nauru will leave within days had been a long time coming and the fight would continue until all refugees and asylum seekers were removed from offshore detention.

“Today’s news that all children will soon be removed from Nauru is a welcome development for these children and their families and is long overdue,” Ms Kanis said.

“This action has taken far too long and at times has been very hard fought – in the last year alone we have had to take court action repeatedly to help secure the medical evacuation of 26 critically ill people on Nauru with many of these children, including some as young as six months old.

“In many of those cases the delay in access to medical treatment has risked serious and life-threatening consequences for the children and adults concerned.

“In welcoming today’s developments we must also remember that there remain many people still languishing in offshore detention on Nauru and Manus Island.

“We remain very concerned for the physical and mental health of all those who remain in detention and we again call for the Federal Parliament to urgently pass the medical evacuation bill to get sick adults out of offshore detention for medical assessment and treatment in Australia.

“The continuing health crisis on Nauru and Manus also highlights the need to find a long-term and permanent solution for these asylum seekers and refugees.

“The continuing uncertainty that they experience over their future because of indefinite detention creates enormous stress and illness and we must do much better in acting urgently to assist those in our care,” she said.

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