The federal court has once again enforced the medical evacuation of dangerously ill asylum seekers and refugees from Nauru, ordering the home affairs minister, Peter Dutton, to transfer a family of three over the weekend.
The order, delivered by Justice Tom Thawley on Friday, also stipulated that they not be treated by anyone contracted by Australian Border Force or detention health provider IHMS.
It also addressed the long-held concerns of advocates and lawyers of sudden transfers back to Nauru, by ordering the department to give five business days’ notice of any plan to do so to the family’s solicitor or, if no solicitor is registered, the family itself.
Thawley also ordered the minister to pay costs.
Guardian Australia has confirmed the family, which includes a mother, her minor-aged son, and her daughter-in law, arrived in Australia over the weekend and are receiving treatment.
The family have a long history of documented mental and physical health issues, including acts of self-harm. The mother has serious gynaecological problems and has attempted suicide on a number of occasions, including after the recent death of her eldest son on Nauru.
Medical reports noted she has no trust in IHMS.
One report evaluated her young son as “at high risk of suicide” and needing “intensive care in an inpatient child and adolescent psychiatric facility”.
“There is no inpatient child and adolescent psychiatric facility in Nauru; therefore [he] needs to be transferred to an adequate facility at the earliest opportunity.”
They had been residing in the supported restricted accomodation inside the detention facility.
“After many tragedies we experience in five years, we have been in RPC1 for three months, where we are all surrounded with barbed wires,” the mother told Guardian Australia.
“Every day we are witnessing the suffering of children who are hospitalised here – the children who became like a skeletons due to refusing to eat. How can they consider the unstoppable, restless screams of a child as a lie, as malingerer fakery?”
Among the more than 700 asylum seekers and refugees still on Nauru are dozens of children exhibiting what doctors have termed “resignation syndrome”, a rare but potentially fatal condition that occurs as a reaction to extreme trauma.
The children have withdrawn from interaction, refusing food and water.
The federal court is increasingly becoming the means by which asylum seekers and refugees on Nauru are accessing the medical care recommended by health providers and organisations, as the immigration department denies requests.
Guardian Australia is aware of some instances where a family or individual has been transferred to Australia prior to a court hearing.
In at least two cases it has emerged the Nauruan government has attempted to block transfers, by refusing to approve the landing of an air ambulance. The Nauruan authorities have reportedly taken exception to the suggestion the healthcare in its country is not adequate.
In at least one case a patient was transferred on a commercial flight, bypassing the Nauruan government’s objections.
A coalition of dozens of human rights groups and charities, including World Vision, has given the government a deadline to get all children and their families off Nauru by Universal Children’s Day on 20 November.