Canberra, 5 December 2019

UNHCR Statement  on  the Repeal of  “Medevac”  Legislation 


UNHCR,  the  UN  Refugee  Agency,  is disappointed  by  the  repeal  of  the  “Medevac”  legislation  in the  Australian  Parliament  yesterday.

Since  its  commencement  earlier  this  year, the medevac  mechanism  had  proven  to  be  a timely, effective and often  life-saving safeguard.

After  more  than  six  years  of  uncertainty regarding  solutions,  UNHCR  is  extremely  concerned  that the  health  situation  of  asylum  seekers  and  refugees  will  continue to  deteriorate.

In  the  absence  of  the  now  repealed Medevac mechanisms,  UNHCR  urges  the  Government of Australia  to  continue  utilising  pre-existing legislative  processes  in  a  good  faith  effort to  evacuate individuals  in need  of  urgent medical  treatment.

As  Australia  retains  responsibility  for  people forcibly  transferred  under  its  offshore arrangements, UNHCR  urges  the  Government of  Australia  to  find  appropriate  solutions including  taking  up  the longstanding offer  by New  Zealand to resettle  refugees  and  to prevent  further  harm. 

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UNHCR Multi-Country Representation in Canberra
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