Aus won't mediate as doctors leave Nauru

10 Octobre, 2018, 07:50 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
  • Doctors Without Borders staff at a display tent during Nauru's 50th independence celebrations in January. Image MSF

An Australian protest over deteriorating conditions for children at the Nauru detention centre.

MSF (Doctors Without Borders) was given 24 hours to leave Nauru on Friday, after being told by the Nauruan government its free psychological and psychiatric services were no longer required.

Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) has been operating on the island since late 2017 to treat the mental health needs of both Nauruans and refugees.

"The relationship between Medecins Sans Frontieres and the Nauruan government is a matter for them", Health Minister Greg Hunt told ABC radio on Monday.

"This just seems like it's more of a Kafkaesque nightmare than ever before, it's unthinkable, I couldn't have imagined something like this would happen, they'd be denied mental health services".

The organisation indicated a desire to find a way to continue its work, reports Australian Associated Press.

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Australia's home affairs department said the decision was Nauru's to make, but added that Canberra "continues to provide appropriate healthcare and mental health support to refugees and asylum seekers through contracted service providers".

"At this stage MSF wishes to reiterate our strong commitment to providing quality mental health care to all those in need on the island", a spokesperson said.

Advocacy group Refugee Action Coalition said MSF's absence would "add enormously to the distress among asylum seekers and refugees" because the Australian government's contracted mental health care provider, International Health and Medical Services, was "stretched to breaking point".

An MSF spokesman said the charity was "extremely concerned that the health of our patients may be affected by this decision and urge the authorities to grant us permission to continue our lifesaving work".

Labor says the refugees on Nauru should be resettled in other countries.

The federal government on Sunday announced an inquiry into Australia's mental health system, to look at the impact of mental illness on the economy and scrutinise the $9 billion spent a year by federal, state and territory governments.

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