Horrific conditions in Australia’s refugee centers intended to scare off migrants – doctor

© Umit Bektas
The Australian government is creating unbearable conditions at its offshore processing centers to send a message to other migrants not to come to the country, Dr John-Paul Sanggaran, a medical officer, who worked at one of such facilities, told RT.

Sanggaran is the co-author of the paper, entitled “Is Australia engaged in torturing asylum seekers? A cautionary tale for Europe,” which was published in the Journal of Medical Ethics last week, once again attracting public attention to the country’s controversial asylum policy. 

Refugees, who were “often victims of violence and abuse” in their home countries, are “placed onto remote islands… essentially, denied their freedom for an indefinite period of time,” he told RT.

The people are forced to live in tents, with “very-very poor medical services there. Especially, in terms of mental health” provided to them, the doctor said.

Australia is “taking these people (asylum seekers) and treating them in a terrible way to send a message to other people that they shouldn’t come here: ‘Please, don’t come to Australia to seek asylum,” he stressed.

“And to the people that are already trapped within the system to make their lives so difficult and so intolerable that they choose to return often to countries where they’ll face prosecutions," Sanggaran added.

As for reports of such torture techniques as waterboarding and zipping (when a person is tied to a metal bed that is then thrown into the air) employed by the guards Regional Processing Centre in Nauru, he said that “it’s hard to establish the reality of these accusations, simply because there’s no transparency. We have no way of getting in there and getting good information about what’s happening.”

However, the doctor insisted that from his “experience there’s definitely human rights violations going on” at Australia’s refugee proceeding centers, which “seems to be a part of a conscious plan” by the government.

In the paper, Sanggaran compared his country’s refugee centers to the infamous CIA’s Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba.

Previously, the UN has labeled “illegal” Canberra’s asylum policies, which are among the toughest in the world.

Military-run coast guard ships are intercepting migrant boats while they're still at sea, sending those aboard to detention centers created outside of Australia to avoid the country’s laws.

Besides torture allegations, those are also long running accusations of sexual assault and child abuse at those camps.

However, there are some people in Australia who support those measures, with Sanggaran blaming the authorities for the rise of xenophobia.

“The way, in which our leaders are behaving, is completely reprehensible. The Minister for Immigration (Peter Dutton) came out and started to talk about what a burden the refugees would be and the cultural differences. It gives license and validity to bigots and racists and emboldens them to come out,” he said.