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Ten Ex-Nauru Medical Transfers Suddenly Placed In Community Detention. Now Release All The Medical Transfers.

Remarkably, the ten refugees and asylum seekers who had been held in isolation in the Meriton Apartments in Brisbane for the past four days have been suddenly released and placed in community detention in Brisbane this morning (Thursday, 19 November).

The ten are the first medical transfers from Nauru and PNG who have been granted community detention since February this year.

The ten single men were transferred from Nauru to Australia on 4 September, for medical treatment but had been held since then, in closed detention at the Mercure Hotel in Darwin (designated as an Alternative Place of Detention, APOD).

Community detention is welcome news for the ten individuals but their release leaves big questions for the government to answer. The lack of planning is obvious; some of the men have missed appointments with medical specialists thereby delaying their urgently needed medical treatment.

The move also leaves fifteen people (couples and family groups) who were also transferred from Nauru for medical treatment last February, still in detention in Darwin. Eleven other single men, transferred from Nauru on 25 September, are still held in Villawood detention centres.

Even more significantly, the move seems to directly discriminate against the 190 refugees who were transferred under the Medevac legislation but who have been held in detention centres and hotel-prisons for up to two years; many without the medical treatment they need.

“The move is very welcome,” said Ian Rintoul from the Refugee Action Coalition, “But this must be the first step to releasing everyone who has been transferred from Nauru and PNG.

“The government continues to prolong the punishment of those transferred under the Medevac legislation, holding them in closed detention, further damaging their physical and mental health. All those transferred from Nauru and PNG need medical help and permanent protection. The hotel-prisons must be closed.”

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