AMSA Crossing Borders

Who are we?

AMSA Crossing Borders is a national project of the AMSA Global Health Committee who aim to engage, educate and promote advocacy for the health and human rights of refugee, asylum seekers and undocumented migrants.

We are made up of a core committee with AMSA Global Health and include representatives in all medical schools throughout Australia.

AMSA Crossing Borders joins an international community of health professionals aiming to remove the stigma, incite conversation and improve the health of refugee and asylum seekers both within and outside our borders.

We believe that health is a human right, and that as future medical professionals we have a responsibility to advocate for this basic human right for every person.

Our mission

Educate – Advocate – Unite – Act

Our mission is to educate the medical community about refugee and asylum seekers. Who they are, their rights and the impact their experience and treatment has on their health. Through education we aim to unite medical students and health professionals, and utilise our powerful voice to advocate for the rights and health for refugee and asylum seekers.

Refugee and Asylum Seeker Health

We are currently experiencing the largest refugee crisis ever recorded. Over 65.5 million people globally have been forcibly displaced due to war, conflict, violence and increasing representation of “climate refugees”. So far, the overwhelming burden of supporting these people has fallen to developing nations, which lack the facilities to host and care for these people.

Every part of a migration journey, including processing and settlement can have serious adverse effects on the health of refugee and asylum seekers. From the experience of the severe trauma a person had fled, the dangerous journey they take and the poor living conditions, treatment and healthcare available at processing centre can all lead to significant adverse outcomes long-term.

Every person is a human being. As such they have a right to appropriate health care regardless of their immigration status. In the wake of the global refugee Crisis, now more than ever medical professionals must advocate for the rights of refugee and asylum seekers.   

Refugee and Asylum Seeker Health in Australia

Australia is the only country in the world to include offshore processing and mandatory detention of asylum seekers. Refugee and asylum seeker health is severely impacted both by detention and the harrowing experiences of torture and war that these people face before arriving in Australia. The impacts are manifested primarily as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, anxiety, depression including self-harm and suicidal ideation.

Australia’s offshore processing facilities have been described the United Nations “unsustainable, inhumane and contrary to its human rights obligations” and that refugee and asylum seekers should be transferred to Australia for processing immediately. It is not illegal to seek asylum. Yet Australia’s current policy sees refugees and asylum seekers treated as prisoners, detained indefinitely.


  • 60-80% of detainees are reported to have some form of mental illness – including: anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), self-harm and suicidal ideation.
  • 95% of children who had been detained on Nauru for between 3 – 17 months were at risk of developing PTSD
  • The length of time in detention is proportional to the severity of mental disturbances suffered.
  • Suicide rates are up to 10 times higher in detention centres than in the Australian community

What can I do?



  • Twitter
  • Contact us to see how you can advocate for refugee and asylum seekers
  • Look out for Crossing Borders at Global Health events and come meet us!



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