Hundreds of Australian doctors call for dying refugee to be brought from Nauru | Australia news
Hundreds of doctors have signed a petition calling on the immigration minister, Peter Dutton, to bring a refugee dying of advanced lung cancer to Australia for palliative care.
The 63-year-old is being held on Nauru and is a member of the persecuted Hazara minority in Afghanistan. He has been formally recognised as a refugee. But the Australian Border Force told the man, known as Ali, that he could not come to Australia for palliative care, despite pleas from doctors on Nauru, who say the care there is inadequate.
After reading reports by Guardian Australia about Ali’s situation, Dr Sara Townend wrote to Dutton and launched a petition she urged other doctors in Australia to sign.
“Australia has accepted this man as a legitimate refugee,” her letter says.
“This means Australia is obligated by international conventions to care for his physical and mental health, whether he is on the mainland, or off shore. Nauru is not an appropriate place for this man to die. The Australian Border Force tacitly acknowledged this by offering to transfer him to Taiwan for palliative care. He requires expertise beyond what is available on Nauru.”
Ali has told the Australian Border Force he will not go to Taiwan because he has no friends or family there, was concerned there would be no translator from his language, Hazaraghi, and that there would be no one to perform the Shia Muslim rituals after his death.
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“If he goes to Taiwan, where there are no Hazara, he will die isolated and without community,” Townsend wrote. “This is no way to die. If he remains on Nauru, he faces a potentially catastrophic death, without medical expertise to ease his pain and symptoms.
“His only chance of a good death is to come to Australia so that he can have both community and medical expertise.”
The petition was shared on social media on Saturday by the advocacy group Doctors For Refugees. By 3pm Sunday 812 doctors had signed.