ACN ADVOCATES FOR THE RIGHTS OF REFUGEES AND ASYLUM SEEKERS TO ACCESS QUALITY HEALTH
Refugees and asylum seekers often have considerable health needs arising from psychological trauma, nutritional deficiencies, poor oral health status, poorly managed chronic diseases and the physical consequences of torture or sexual abuse.

At the National Nursing Forum in Brisbane yesterday, the Australian College of Nursing (ACN) released a position statement Quality Health Care for all Refugees and Asylum Seekers. The position statement articulates ACN’s commitment to the protection of the health, welfare and dignity of refugees and asylum seekers and their children.

The Code of Ethics for Nurses in Australia recognises the universal human rights of people and the moral responsibility of nurses to safeguard the inherent dignity and equal worth in everyone. Carmen Morgan, ACN President, stressed the importance of legislation, pertaining to refugees and asylum seekers, not interfering with nursing requirements under the Code.

“Governments must ensure that policies support the provision of high quality health care to all those seeking refuge in Australia. Refugees and asylum seekers are some of the most vulnerable groups. The nursing profession has a moral obligation to protect refugees’ and asylum seekers’ human rights, including their right to quality health care,” Ms Morgan stated.

Further, the environment in which refugees and asylum seekers reside should protect and preserve their physical and mental health. It is imperative that children in particular are provided with positive social and physical environments, and childhood health care and education.

ACN will continue to advocate for quality health care for all those who require it, especially the more vulnerable members of the community.