Australia sent refugees to Taiwan for urgent medical care: MOFA

Taipei, Taiwan has provided medical treatment for more than 10 seriously ill refugees, who were being held on Nauru and were sent by Australia under a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Taiwan to provide medical treatment for such asylum seekers, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Sunday.

Under the MOU that was signed last September, Taiwan Adventist Hospital began in January to help bring in refugees and asylum seekers from Australia's offshore immigration detention center on Nauru who need but cannot obtain urgent medical care there, MOFA spokesman Andrew Lee (???) said.

The MOU states that the two signatory parties should follow international human rights standards to ensure that the people involved receive dignified treatment and proper medical care, Lee said.

Since the implementation of the cooperation plan, Taiwan has provided appropriate medical care for more than 10 asylum seekers from the detention facility on Nauru, he said.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the MOU with Taiwan was an undisclosed arrangement aimed at preventing refugees on Nauru from reaching Australia and thus accessing its court system to apply for stay after being treated in local hospitals.

Under an agreement with the South Pacific island nation of Nauru, the Australian government has an offshore immigration detention facility there that houses asylum seekers reportedly from Iran, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and other countries.

Lee said, however, that the arrangement between Taiwan and Australia to provide treatment to seriously ill refugees from the Australian detention center on Nauru was made in consideration of the high standard of medical and health care in Taiwan and the longstanding medical cooperation between Taiwan and one of its diplomatic allies Nauru.

The right to health is a fundamental human right, Lee said, citing the Constitution of the World Health Organization (WHO).

He said that to achieve the goal of universal health coverage, which means all people can obtain needed health services without suffering financial hardship, Taiwan is working to make a greater contribution to global medical and health care.

Taiwan is also giving priority to helping its diplomatic allies improve their standards of medical care and to strengthening its medical cooperation with them, Lee said.

He said the longstanding medical cooperation between Taiwan and Nauru has been fruitful, and as an active and contributory member of the international community, Taiwan is willing to work with other countries to improve the health of all people.

Taiwan will continue to uphold the human rights principles of ensuring universal access to health care, help its allies to uplift their medical care standards, and deepen cooperation with like-minded countries in the areas of international medical and humanitarian relief work and cross-border disease surveillance and control, Lee said.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel