Defined in Australia - A refugee is a person who asked for protection and was given refugee status. They may have been resettled in another country or be waiting for resettlement. Not every asylum seeker becomes a refugee, but every refugee starts out as an asylum seeker.
There are 10 men held at Adelaide Immigration Transit Accommodation in Kilburn, Adelaide for over 12 months. Very few of them have received adequate medical treatment.
The medevac law was passed due to concerns the department was rejecting transfer applications for political rather than medical reasons. The point was to provide an expedient, objective process to determine whether transfers were required. The law was supposed to streamline the process for emergency medical evacuation of refugees from Manus Island and Nauru.
In response to the pandemic, the Organization needed to support its personnel and partners so they could stay in their duty stations and deliver. To ensure the availability of potentially life-saving care to those who fall seriously ill with COVID-19, the Secretary-General established the UN System-wide COVID-19 MEDEVAC Task Force, led by AnneMarie Van Den Berg, within the Department of Operational Support.
Discussions with governments around the world were launched, relationships leveraged, and access agreements reached. They established a global network of approved medical facilities to receive and treat severely ill COVID-19 patients. In Nairobi and Accra, they constructed dedicated facilities to ensure beds are available and to supplement local capacity.
On Thursday 5th December 2019 the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, expressed its disappointed by the repeal of the Medevac legislation in the Australian Parliament on Wednesday 4th December 2019, which the UNHCR felt may negatively impact vital care for asylum seekers in offshore processing facilities.
In Australia 2021, refugees are not getting tested for COVID-19. There risk in contracting the virus due to isolation comes from the guards to which Border Force Australia and other services governing bodies provide.
Overall, in October 2019 The United Nations high commissioner for human rights Michelle Bachelet had serious concerns about Australia's migration and asylum policies.
During a Whitlam Institute Oration speech in Sydney on Wednesday, Ms Bachelet said the concerns included Australia's "so-called offshore processing regime and prolonged mandatory detention of refugees and asylum seekers".
Ms Bachelet also criticised the "public narrative in Australia" that surrounds the policies.
"Which I fear has become weaponised by misinformation and discriminatory — and even racist — attitudes, including with respect to Islam," Ms Bachelet said.
"Targeting migrants as convenient scapegoats for a range of society's troubles is a practice that is certainly not limited to Australia.
"Around the world we see some politicians and would-be opinion leaders who are only too eager to demonise some of society's most vulnerable and marginalised people for political gain."