The ‘Nauru Files’ reported in today’s media present new allegations of widespread and appalling abuse of children in immigration detention on Nauru.
The reports of more than 1,000 incidents involving children cannot be ignored. This includes seven cases of sexual assault of a child and 59 reports of physical assault.
Today’s reports add to an already substantial body of information about the harm caused to children by Government-funded immigration detention centres. The investigation by the Human Rights Commission in 2014 and the Government-commissioned Moss Review and Cornall Reports last year highlighted urgent protection issues for children in immigration detention. In 2015, more than 100 organisations, including ChildFund Australia, called for an end to the transfers of children, women and men to Nauru and Manus Island. While the Government has moved to reduce the number of children in immigration detention, many still remain.
Australia has a duty of care for these children, as a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states ‘no child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’.
ChildFund calls on the Australian Government to immediately transfer children and their families from immigration detention on Nauru to community arrangements in Australia. Further, the allegations of abuse in Australian-run immigration detention centres should be examined by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
The situation on Nauru is not safe for children. It is unacceptable that children are being harmed. The Australian Government must act immediately to bring these children to safety.