Since the passing of the Medevac Laws in February, Refugee Legal has continued to play a lead role – with other key partners – in ensuring that critically ill people in PNG and on Nauru can be evacuated to Australia for urgent medical treatment. Men and women who have endured over six years of untold suffering.

We’re doing this as a key member of the Medical Evacuation Response Group (MERG) – an independent coalition of specialists, including doctors, lawyers, caseworkers, and counsellors – that have assisted more than 130 men and women to be evacuated with medical conditions which can’t be treated in PNG or Nauru. Conditions range from serious heart problems to the acutely suicidal.

Our legal expertise is instrumental in advising refugees on their rights, briefing and advising doctors, preparing medevac applications, and strategic litigation to ensure the process functions properly.

Despite the clear and critical necessity for the medevac laws, the Federal  Government is determined to repeal them.

We are continuing – together with others – to fight against repeal of these life-saving laws. We are doing this through submissions to a Senate Inquiry, media commentary, and lobbying of key parliamentarians and policy-makers.

As health and hope deteriorate dangerously, and the Government seeks to abolish the medevac laws, we’re further scaling up our services – including mobilisation of pro bono law firms – to ensure as many people in need can urgently apply to be evacuated.

“These laws have proven to be a critical and necessary mechanism to ensure that the urgent medical needs of women and men for evacuation are properly identified and met – and that Australian Government is able to act on expert medical advice to meet its duty of care to seriously unwell people on Manus and Nauru.”

David Manne
Refugee Legal
Executive Director and Principal solicitor