Researchers from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch who spent 12 days on the island nation of Nauru in the Central Pacific last month have detailed disturbing findings about medical treatment for asylum seekers and refugees detained there. Researchers interviewed 84 detainees, as well as workers at the hospital, and discovered a host of violations and abuse — in one case, said Amnesty International’s senior director of research, Anna Neistat, a woman suffering severe pain after enduring genital mutilation was denied medical treatment. “For five months they kept telling her to relax and breathe … she was in huge distress,” said Neistat.
Other concerning findings included information from a nurse at the island’s hospital that they lacked basic supplies such as bandages and sterile gloves, a report that the hospital’s tooth fillings were “performed in such a way that eventually it makes people lose their teeth,” and an account from an asylum seeker who said his wife went through labor on a bed without a mattress. As his wife cried, the man said, the nurse was focused only on “playing on her tablet.” Researchers also heard that the hospital refused to send ambulances for refugees and asylum seekers on numerous occasions.
IHMS, the organization contracted to provide healthcare for asylum seekers on the island, has rejected the report as “unsubstantiated,” claiming that Amnesty International “chose not to visit the IHMS medical facilities, meet with staff or seek to clarify individual case concerns.”
Read the full story at The Sydney Morning Herald.