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19 Jun 2018

The AMA today called on the Federal Government to bring an Afghan refugee with advanced lung cancer from Nauru to Australia for palliative care.

AMA President, Dr Tony Bartone, said the AMA understands that the required treatment is not able to be provided on Nauru and that the 63-year-old man, known as Ali, should be moved to Australia.

“Ali is a member of the persecuted Hazara minority in Afghanistan and has been formally recognised as a refugee,” Dr Bartone said.

“He has advanced lung cancer. He needs significant palliative care services that he cannot receive on the island. This is not in dispute.

“The Australian Border Force has offered to transfer him to Taiwan. But this is not an appropriate management option. There is no Hazara community in Taiwan, he has no friends or family there, no-one to translate from his language, and no-one to perform the Shia Muslim rituals after his death.

“The AMA has always held that all people who are under the protection of the Australian Government have the right to receive appropriate medical care without discrimination, regardless of citizenship or visa status.

“They should be treated with compassion, respect and dignity.

“On any score - international obligations, conventions, respect, standards of clinical and ethical care - we must not fail to provide the requisite medical care on Australia’s watch.

“The AMA reiterates its call for the establishment of a transparent, national statutory body of clinical experts, independent of government, with the power to investigate and report to the Parliament on the health and welfare of asylum seekers and refugees in Australian care.

“The AMA welcomes the appointment of Dr Parbodh Gogna as the Australian Border Force’s new Chief Medical Officer and Surgeon General, and is seeking a meeting with him as soon as he starts in the role.

“In the meantime, we call on the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton, to intervene to ensure that this man receives the care he needs, in a compassionate, timely, and respectful manner.”

The AMA Position Statement on Health Care of Asylum Seekers and Refugees is available at


19 June 2018

CONTACT:        Maria Hawthorne     02 6270 5478 / 0427 209 753

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Published: 19 Jun 2018