MSF calls for evacuation of Nauru asylum seekers

October 11, 2018

Medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières has called for the immediate evacuation of all asylum seekers on Pacific nation Nauru, amid a “devastating” mental health crisis.

MSF provided 11 months of care to those housed in an Australian-run detention centre on the tiny island, but was recently ordered by Nauru to leave.

It treated 78 people who had attempted suicide or self-harm during that time.

Authorities in Nauru and Australia have not responded to MSF’s call.

The Nauru detention centre was set up by Australia in 2013 in a controversial deal to house asylum seekers intercepted while trying to reach Australian shores by boat.

Canberra maintains its policy prevents deaths at sea and discourages people smugglers but the tough stance has been widely criticised.

MSF had provided free mental health treatment to both refugees and the Nauruan population.

On Sunday, MSF said it had been ordered off the island.

More than 900 refugees and asylum seekers – including about 100 children – are on Nauru, according to the Refugee Council of Australia.