16 May 2003

Concern over mental health of detainees in Australia's Nauru centre

5:43 am on 16 May 2003

A psychiatrist who worked in Australian-run detention centres in Nauru says the International Organisation for Migration has shown little concern for the mental health of the detainees.

Dr Maarten Dormaar told Australian radio that the IOM ignored his reports that problems worsened as detention in prison-like conditions continued.

Australia still keeps hundreds of mainly Middle Eastern asylumseekers and refugees, including more than a hundred children, in camps set up in Nauru in 2001.

Dr Dormaar's records show that one in 10 male Afghanis who had been in detention for seven months had attended the psychiatrist but that figure rose to one in four after a year in detention.

The Australian immigration depertment says detainees receive adequate care at Nauru.