New Nauru contractor is accepting a poisoned chalice

New Nauru contractor is accepting a poisoned chalice

Australian engineering firm Canstruct will be complicit in serious human rights abuses if it takes over the contract to run the Australia’s immigration detention centre on Nauru.

A leaked memo from Canstruct’s CEO overnight, shows the company will take over the contract to run the Nauru centre by the end of the month, and will be paid $8 million by the Australian Government. Previous contractor, Broadspectrum (formerly Transfield), pulled out after a sustained campaign against it by human rights groups.

Keren Adams, Director of Legal Advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre, said, "If it goes ahead with this contract, Canstruct will be complicit in an intentionally abusive system, in direct contravention of its human rights obligations, and will be exposing itself to serious legal and reputational liability."

"Companies like G4S and Broadspectrum have already faced years of litigation as a result of their involvement in Australia’s detention regime, resulting in a $70 million payout earlier this year to current and former asylum seekers held on Manus."

"There is simply no ethical way for a company to run these centres. Australia’s offshore detention is, by design, a regime of cruelty intended to breed hopelessness and despair. Canstruct say they are a family company all about helping communities and building bridges. They should seriously reflect on what they are getting themselves into," said Ms Adams.

The Nauru detention centre currently houses 369 people, including many children. However the 900 men remaining on Manus Island have recently been informed they can volunteer to move to the Nauru centre, suggesting the Australian Government intends to consolidate its offshore processing regime there.

For interviews or further information please call:

Michelle Bennett, Director of Communications, Human Rights Law Centre, 0419 100 519