Friday, 30 October 2015

Sydney Doctors Protest Detention of Child Immigrants

Doctors and staff at Sydney's two children's hospitals staged a joint protest today to raise awareness of the serious damage being done to their child patients who are being held in immigration detention.

Paediatricians David Isaacs, from Westmead Children's Hospital, and Karen Zwi, from the Children's Hospital at Randwick, told Fairfax they could no longer condone the increasing damage being done to their patients.

"They are in a traumatised, agitated state and it is getting worse and worse the longer we leave them there," Dr Zwi said. "We have really reached crisis point."

She said the average time children were held in detention had now reached 417 days, with about 113 children being held in detention around Australia.

"They become more and more distressed over time, they become depressed and think life is not worth
living ... they wet the bed, they can't concentrate and they have nightmares."

"There is really no medical care for a child who is distressed, they really need to be in a safe, nurturing environment," she said. "Otherwise it is impossible for them to make a recovery."

Dr Isaacs said the group wanted to meet to encourage the public to reject the ongoing detention of children.

"We think it's torture," he said. "It is immoral for us to be condoning it, whatever the reasons".
He said that given the government claimed it had already stopped asylum seeker boats, there was no reason to continue to keep children in detention.

He also said releasing the children to Nauru was not an acceptable solution.

"It is a scary, scary place and girls are being raped," he said. "They are also only being given temporary visas, they are only allowed to be there for five years and then they have to leave."

The staff and some medical students met at 12.30pm in front of the two hospitals to take group photos.

Source- Sydney Herald

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