Following today’s release of leaked incident reports from Australia’s detention centre on Nauru, a coalition of human rights and refugee organisations have called on the Australian Government to urgently bring the people seeking asylum to Australia.
“The documents provide detailed evidence of the tremendous harm we are inflicting on innocent people including children. We are responsible for this harm. We can’t turn a blind eye. We have to end this now by bringing them here to safety,” said Hugh de Kretser, Executive Director of the Human Rights Law Centre.
Over 2,000 reports from guards, teachers and caseworkers reveal a harrowing picture of sexual assault, child abuse, self-harm, suicide, assault and injury.
"At the same time as we have two Royal Commissions into institutional child sex abuse and abuse in youth detention centres, we’re warehousing children on Nauru in conditions that allow this abuse to thrive. The hypocrisy is breathtaking,” said Mr de Kretser.
The leaked documents have been published by The Guardian.
"Abuse thrives where there’s secrecy. Since coming to power in 2013, the Coalition Government has intensified its secrecy laws and practices and has aggressively pursued whistleblowers. It shouldn’t take whistleblowers and journalists risking jail to inform the Australian public about what is happening in Australia’s offshore camps,” said Mr de Kretser.
The Human Rights Law Centre joined with GetUp, the Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce and the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in calling on the Australian Government to #BringThemHere.
For all media queries, please contact:
Hugh de Kretser: 0403 965 340
Michelle Bennett: 0419 100 519
Quotes from our partners:
Misha Coleman, Executive Director of the Australian Churches’ Refugee Taskforce:
"The files released today corroborate the allegations made in letters from detainees which were smuggled out of the Nauru camp and given to the Taskforce in 2014”.
“Despite submitting these handwritten letters to the Department and to the Moss Review during 2014 and 2015, neither the Australian nor Nauruan Governments acted to prevent the ongoing daily acts of abuse committed on children and women especially.” She said that “the letters detailed a range of abuse cases including a rape and alleged coverup of that rape – it’s clear from the files released today that the situation has sunk to unholy depths”.
"At the time, the Taskforce Chair called for a Royal Commission into the systemic and gross abuse of children, mums and dads of occurring every day in these camps are funded by Australian taxpayers."
"Taskforce Chair, The Very Rev’d Dr Peter Catt said that “ We had called for a Royal Commission into the offshore camps after some of the key issues raised in the report were referred back to the Nauruan police, in which we have no confidence whatsoever. Today however, we’re calling on the Australian Government to immediately bring these innocent people from Nauru, here to Australia, and then to immediately establish a Royal Commission into these sorry offshore detention camps”.
Shen Narayanasamy, the Human Right Director, GetUp:
"People have been subject to widespread abuse for years, and they deserve justice and a life of safety outside these abusive black-sites."
“The scale of this abuse detailed in these files is gutting. Over half of the incident reports involve children. There’s details of gross physical and sexual abuse inflicted by guards."
“It’s worse than we previously knew. But really one abuse is too many. Here we see report after report of the most awful and disgusting abuse."
“Australia can bring these people here and end this abuse. These files reveal the abuse is far worse than has previously been reported."
Jana Favero, Director of Advocacy, Asylum Seeker Resource Centre:
"This report reinforces what we've heard and are still hearing. The Govt is deliberately harming people by creating deplorable conditions that go against our values of decency and fairness."
Mat Tinkler, Director of Policy and Public Affairs, Save the Children:
"Save the Children consistently informed the Immigration Department about each incidents of physical abuse, sexual abuse and self-harm involving asylum seekers and refugees, many of them young children, that the aid agency’s staff observed on Nauru."
"Save the Children later produced an analysis of these reports, which detailed clearly how they broke down by age, type of incident, and the harm being caused to children. This analysis has been handed to a now defunct Senate inquiry into offshore detention and directly to senior members of the federal Cabinet."
“The question every Australia should be asking is if the Turnbull Government knew of the abuse and self-harm occurring under its watch, why hasn’t it acted?”