Nauru Finance minister attacks Vanstone over MOU

Project SafeCom Inc.
P.O. Box 364
Western Australia 6312
Phone: 0417 090 130

Nauru Finance minister attacks Vanstone over MOU

Media Release
Tuesday January 6 2004 09:30am WST
For Immediate Release
No Embargoes

In a letter, posted in The Age today, Nauru's Finance Minister launched an attack on Australia's Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone over her comments that the hunger strikers are not Australia's responsibility.

The letter, spotted by refugee advocates, is reprinted below.

In the letter, the Minister Clodumar concludes that Australia has breached its Memorandum of Understanding with Nauru, as well as its humanitarian obligations.

"It must now be clear that Australia's treatment of asylum seekers is as shoddy as its treatment of the Republic of Nauru. Not only is the treatment of detainees on Nauru is flagrant breach of the International Declaration of Human Rights in many ways, the government has been shown up in a simple letter to the Editor by the Nauruan government.

"It is clear, and Project SafeCom demands this in the strongest possible terms, that the government spin put out by Vanstone about the standard of medical care on Nauru cannot be trusted, and under the Terms of the 1991 Malta Declaration, Project SafeCom demands immediate access to the Hunger Strikers by an independent medical team.

"Several highly qualified medical professionals around Australia, members of the "Allied Health Professionals for Asylum Seekers" have already expressed they are ready to depart and available, and these people must now be admitted to Nauru.

For more information:

Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
Narrogin/Fremantle WA
[phone number posted]

Dr Louise Newman
Alliance of Health Professionals for Asylum Seekers
[Phone number posted]

Dr Rohan Vora
Alliance of Health Professionals for Asylum Seekers
[Phone number posted]

The Age - letter the editor

January 6, 2004

Nauru protests to Australia

I read with concern Senator Amanda Vanstone's comments

....that "asylum seekers on Nauru who refused to eat are not the responsibility of the Australian Government.

Our Memorandum of Understanding obliges Australia to ensure the day-to-day management of asylum seeker facilities, including medical treatment.

Nauru has provided medical attention to the hunger strikers for humanitarian reasons. Australia has not discussed the hunger strike with us, let alone formally seek our assistance.

We have called on Australia for the urgent provision of medical and nursing staff, supplies and equipment.

Not only are the lives of hunger strikers at stake, but also the medical needs of Nauruans, owing to the pressure on our health system.

The Australian Government must act now to recognise its MOU with Nauru as well as its humanitarian obligation by providing adequate care and treatment for the asylum seekers.

~ K. Clodumar, MP, Minister for Finance, Republic of Nauru

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