Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Nauru Files

How bad are Australia's refugee concentration camps on Nauru and Manus Island? The Guardian has been leaked over 2,000 incident reports from Nauru, and they paint a horrifying picture of self-harm, despair, and sexual assault:

More than 2,000 leaked incident reports from Australia’s detention camp for asylum seekers on the remote Pacific island of Nauru – totalling more than 8,000 pages – are published by the Guardian today. The Nauru files set out as never before the assaults, sexual abuse, self-harm attempts, child abuse and living conditions endured by asylum seekers held by the Australian government, painting a picture of routine dysfunction and cruelty.

The Guardian’s analysis of the files reveal that children are vastly over-represented in the reports. More than half of the 2,116 reports – a total of 1,086 incidents, or 51.3% – involve children, although children made up only about 18% of those in detention on Nauru during the time covered by the reports, May 2013 to October 2015. The findings come just weeks after the brutal treatment of young people in juvenile detention in the Northern Territory was exposed, leading to the Australian prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, announcing a wide-ranging public inquiry.

The reports range from a guard allegedly grabbing a boy and threatening to kill him once he is living in the community to guards allegedly slapping children in the face. In September 2014 a teacher reported that a classroom helper had requested a four-minute shower instead of a two-minute shower. “Her request has been accepted on condition of sexual favours. It is a male security person. She did not state if this has or hasn’t occurred. The security officer wants to view a boy or girl having a shower.”


In the files there are seven reports of sexual assault of children, 59 reports of assault on children, 30 of self-harm involving children and 159 of threatened self-harm involving children.

This is simply obscene. And creating, imposing and then tolerating these conditions is a crime against humanity for which the Australian government and its hired camp-guards need to be held to account.