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Torture, healthcare and Australian immigration detention
  1. Ryan Essex
  1. Correspondence to Ryan Essex, The Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine, School of Public Health, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia; ryan.essex{at}

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Australia has arguably led the developed world in implementing the most damaging and regressive measures aimed at deterring asylum seekers and refugees. The harms of this system have long been documented and only re-enforced more recently in a number of investigations that have detailed riots, violence and widespread physical and sexual abuse in offshore detention, with adults and children reported as victims.1 ,2

After time spent in an offshore processing centre on Nauru, Isaacs has emerged as a vocal critic of Australia's immigration detention policies. In his article,3 he argues that the mandatory and prolonged detention of asylum seekers and refugees is analogous to torture, drawing comparisons between Australian immigration detention and other notorious sites where torture has taken place. This provocative argument gives a new urgency for long overdue action. Similar concerns have also been raised by other former clinicians and academics (J-P Sanggaran and D Zion. Is Australia engaged in torturing asylum seekers? What this means for medical practise and legislation. Manuscript in preparation.) and follow from comments from the United Nations accusing Australia of systematically violating the international Convention Against Torture by detaining …

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  • Twitter Follow Ryan Essex at @RyEssex

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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