Handcuffed asylum seekers ‘paraded like criminals’ in Australian hospitals, doctors say

Doctors say handcuffed asylum seeker patients are being “paraded like criminals” through hospital wards and humiliated as they sit shackled in doctors’ waiting rooms.

The practice of handcuffing asylum seekers while escorting them to external medical appointments is now the subject of a federal court test case, launched by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), which alleges it is unlawful under the Migration Act and a form of disability discrimination to those with histories of mental illness, trauma and torture.

The unnecessary use of handcuffs has also been the subject of criticism from the commonwealth ombudsman and the Australian Human Rights Commission, the latter finding last year that asylum seekers were being restrained in a way that breached their right to be treated with “humanity” and “inherent dignity”.

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