Saturday, June 23, 2018

Send them to Taiwan: Aus/Taiwan gov't deal to provide Nauru Refugees medical care in Taiwan

As the economy changes, former farms are becoming spaces for leisure and camping.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported on a deal between the Australian government and Taiwan...
The Turnbull government has signed a deal to send refugees on Nauru who need urgent medical care to Taiwan, in an undisclosed arrangement aimed at stopping them from applying to stay in Australia after being treated in local hospitals.

Fairfax Media can reveal Australia signed a memorandum of understanding with Taiwan - which is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention - in September last year that has so far seen about five refugees flown 5500 kilometres to the capital Taipei for high-level care.
The reason that the Australian government is spending piles of taxpayer money to send refugees all the way to Taiwan is that if they are cared for in Australia they can reach the court system there and file suit to stay. A dying Afghan refugee was not permitted to come to Australia for palliative care, and refused to go to Taiwan... it was just reported a few hours ago that he has been permitted to go to Australia to die.

Since Taiwan is not a signatory to the refugee convention, refugees cannot automatically apply for asylum in Taiwan.

In another case, a Somali woman whose had suffered from female genital mutilation refused to be treated in Taiwan, whose doctors testified that they could not treat her.

The lawyers were quoted in the SMH piece...
“The fundamental concern must be the person’s need for medical treatment. Once again, we see the absurd spectacle of the Australian government searching the globe to hive off its basic obligations ... to properly care for people subject to its policies which inflict such devastating harm.”

Lawyer George Newhouse of the National Justice Project - which handled the case involving the pregnant Somali woman - said the government was “sending a clear message to asylum-seekers around the world, that if they attempt to come to Australia by boat, they will be denied adequate medical care and our government will take all steps, including exposing them to harm, to ensure that they never reach the Australian mainland”.
It appears that Taiwan may well be complicit, if indeed these are human rights violations. Consider this case, reported in the Guardian:
The woman, Fatemah, had told the Guardian her 17-year-old son also required medical treatment for severe mental illness caused by his time in detention but did not receive treatment before the pair were returned to Nauru. Taiwan authorities said he was not listed as a patient on the medical transfer form.
How many refugees are there on Nauru, pent up there by the Australian government. Millions? Thousands? Nope -- just 330 is the latest total. Could easily disappear into the population of Australia, where they already have ethnic communities to support them. New Zealand offered to take them, but Australia refused, since once they obtain New Zealand IDs, they can easily enter Australia. Wiki has background on the Nauru center. It's grim.

In Taiwan the refugees are treated at Adventist Hospital and housed in the nearby community. They receive top-notch care in our excellent health system. They are returned to Nauru on flights chartered from Executive Aviation Taiwan (the eyebrow raising costs are here and are between $8000 and $15000 an hour) that leave Songshan very early in the morning, probably because at that hour there is little competition for runway space and it is a long flight to Nauru and back to Taiwan.
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