“Detention Gag Orders Make It Impossible For Doctors To Do Their Job”

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Starting in July, physicians, psychiatrists and other health professionals could be sentenced to two years in jail for publicly disclosing information about health and mental health conditions in Australian immigration detention centers, writes psychiatrist Louise Newman in The Conversation. The BMJ also published criticisms of the new law.

One commentary in the British Medical Journal describes the new law as “a failure of democracy” and another commentary calls for doctors to boycott working in the detention centers to protest the policy. “We were utterly appalled by the spartan living conditions on Nauru and by the treatment meted out to detainees,” writes David Isaacs about his visit to Australia’s offshore detention center.

Meanwhile, according to Global News, a new report says that Canada’s immigration detention centers also violate basic human rights in ways that seriously affect the health and mental health of prospective immigrants.

Detention gag orders make it impossible for doctors to do their job (The Conversation, June 9, 2015)

Isaacs, David. “Doctors Should Boycott Working in Australia’s Immigration Centres and Must Continue to Speak out on Mistreatment of Detainees—despite the Law.” The BMJ 350 (June 17, 2015): h3269. doi:10.1136/bmj.h3269. (Full text)

Berger, David. “Australia’s Law to Gag Doctors with Concerns about Asylum Seekers Is a Failure of Democracy.” The BMJ 350 (June 17, 2015): h3256. doi:10.1136/bmj.h3256. (Full text)

Sick, traumatized, jailed indefinitely: Canada’s immigration detention violates rights, report says (Global News, June 18, 2015)

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