Two prominent refugee organisations have released a new report today that rips through the shroud of secrecy surrounding offshore processing on Nauru. Secrecy enforced by the Australian government.
The report includes detailed cases of child and adult trauma and descriptions of deteriorating conditions that people seeking asylum live through in Nauru.
As leaders from across the region gather in Nauru for the Pacific Islands Forum, now is the time to highlight the traumatic conditions people live in and renew the call for the transfer of the 109 children and their families to Australia for urgent medical treatment and safety.
“The government is trying desperately to hide the reality from Pacific Island leaders and media by reportedly pulling down tents and moving people away from where they can be seen or heard from,” Refugee Council of Australia spokesperson Kelly Nicholls said.
“The fact that some prominent Australian media organisations have been denied Visas to attend the Pacific Islands Forum is yet another example of the government’s enforced secrecy around its offshore processing policy when it comes to the Australian public.”
The region’s attention on Nauru comes exactly six years since Australia’s immigration detention centre was reopened there.
“That’s six years of escalating abuse, six years of trauma, six years of secrets and six years of our politicians attempting to hide the grim reality,” Ms Nicholls said.
The report outlines the overwhelming evidence of abuse and suffering of people seeking asylum held on Nauru which Australian governments have wilfully ignored and kept under secrecy for the past six years.
Australia’s man-made crisis on Nauru: Six years on highlights:
- The dramatic escalation of children with symptoms of traumatic withdrawal syndrome.
- Legal intervention forced 25 overseas medical requests for transfer to Australia in the past eight months against Australian government blocks.
- Around 50 overseas medical requests being actively blocked by the Australian government.
- Children as young as 7 with repeated incidents of suicidality and self-harm, including incidents of setting themselves alight.
- 35 families separated.
- Accounts of rape and sexual abuse of females, including by those paid to protect them, with at least 24 women flown to Australia to terminate pregnancies, many of them as a result of rape.
- The U.S. deal to resettle 1,250 refugees, has only resulted in around 371 people leaving in almost two years since the agreement.
The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) Director of Advocacy and Campaigns Jana Favero said, “The ASRC is in contact with around 100 people on Nauru through our detention advocacy program. Parents have been calling us desperate for help as they try to force food and water into limp bodies of their children with symptoms of Traumatic Withdrawal Syndrome.”
“Children leave voice messages for our case workers crying for help. These are entire families struggling through prolonged trauma without proper treatment, facing the indifference of the Australian government and border force as they block doctor’s recommendations for overseas medical requests to save their children’s lives.”
“Since 2012, Australia’s offshore processing policy has traumatised and permanently hurt the health of 100s of families and children on Nauru.”
“The medical evidence is clear, children are suffering due to the trauma they have experienced being on Nauru and it has reached a stage where Doctors are warning us they fear a child will die.”
The Refugee Council of Australia and Asylum Seeker Resource Centre call on the Australian government to immediately bring all children and their families to Australia and either resettle them here or in another suitable country that welcomes them.