Manus Island camp holds 87 people awaiting specialist medical treatment in Australia or PNG
Asylum seekers detained on Manus Island's detention centre
are living in grimy buildings, with pictures showing filthy conditions,
mould and rust in the centre.
Male detainees on the island are also being told there are 87
people waiting for external specialist appointments in Australia or
Port Moresby, including a man who still has bullet fragments in his
lower back and another who had his hip, knee and chest crushed when he
was attacked, refugee advocates say.
The images of the centre provided to Fairfax Media, were
taken in September before it was visited by Commonwealth Ombudsman staff
from 23 to 27 September this year.
Inside Manus Island's detention centre. Photo: Supplied
An Ombudsman's office spokesman confirmed a team of four
staff inspected the centre during the final week of September. A second
lot of photos show local workers cleaning up the centre prior to the
Before the clean-up of the centre that houses 1060 men,
images show filthy living conditions, including a toilet block covered
in rust, doors falling off their hinges and walls covered in heavy black
Asylum seekers say their health has been affected by the
neglect of the centre, including having skin rashes, cuts and bouts of
Cleaning up the detention centre prior to a visit from the ombudsman.
"One of the asylum seeker's foot catch [sic] a infected
pimple caused by mosquitoes," an asylum seeker writes in a document
provided to Fairfax Media. "Skin infected wound sight is a normal matter
in the camp."
Ben Pynt, the director of human rights advocacy at Humanitarian Research Partners, said given the unhygienic environment asylum seekers are forced to exist in, some detainees medical conditions are deteriorating.
"The fact that there are reportedly 87 people on the specialist waiting list is unacceptable," he said.
Mould and rotting wood at Manus Island.
"IHMS [International Health and Medical Services] is
contracted to provide primary medical care to asylum seekers at Manus
island, and the lack of specialists is used as an excuse to unreasonably
delay or deny treatment to people who urgently need it," he said.
"Some have been waiting seven months for wounds sustained in
the February attacks to be seen to, and every time they inquire as to
when their X-ray or surgery might take place they are told to be patient
and keep waiting."
Documents also show that a number of asylum seekers, who were
involved in the violence during February, have long-term medical
Wildlife live amongst food.
One man has experienced hearing loss in his left ear after
being hit in the attack eight months ago. He has also had three bouts of
malaria in this time.
Concerns about the delay
in medical treatment being offered to asylum seekers was raised after a
24-year-old asylum seeker, Hamid Khazaei died from initially cutting
his foot two months ago. It was reported he died from septicaemia.
Immigration spokeswoman for the Greens, Sarah Hanson-Young said the conditions were "appalling" and unacceptable.
"The government cannot seriously maintain that these conditions are satisfactory or safe," Ms Hanson-Young said.
Papua New Guinea has still not offered resettlement options
for asylum seekers found to be refugees, despite 44 men being offered
interim refugee status determinations.
A spokeswoman for Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said
the images had not been verified and that it was not uncommon for
facilities to be damaged or degraded "either as a result of protest
activity or in advance of visits to the centre in order to cause
embarrassment to those who run the centre."
The spokeswoman said health services at Manus Island were
operating normally and that "referral and waiting times for specialist
services are commensurate" with the Australian public health system.
"General practitioner, nursing and mental health care clinics are open at the Manus OPC seven days per week."
But Immigration and Border Protection Minister Scott Morrison
said: "It is not uncommon for facilities to be damaged or degraded
either as a result of protest activity or in advance of visits to the
centre in order to cause embarrassment to those who run the centre.
"The images depicted have not been verified and do not
reflect the general standard of facilities at our offshore processing
"It is not clear when the pictures were taken, in what
circumstance and which specific facilities and whether images have been
"Health services at Manus Offshore Processing Centre (OPC)
are operating normally, and there are no significant delays in accessing
essential health care. General practitioner, nursing and mental health
care clinics are open at the Manus OPC seven days per week. There is
also after-hours medical staffing to respond to any after-hours medical
"IHMS organises the provision of specialist, allied and acute
care for transferees at the OPCs. Some of these services are available
at the Lorengau Hospital on Manus and IHMS supplements available
services, if required, by organising visiting practitioners.
"From time to time, it is necessary for persons located at
OPCs to be transferred to Port Moresby or mainland Australia for medical
reasons when suitable medical services required for the particular case
are not available at the location.
"Decisions on medical transfers are based on clinical advice
from IHMS. The Minister is advised that referral and waiting times for
specialist services are commensurate with those for the Australian
community, under the public health system."
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