The Refugee Council of Australia has called for an immediate moratorium on transfers to Nauru following the tragic example of a five-year-old girl who has attempted to commit suicide following her prolonged detention there.
Over 100 Australian organisations and community groups, including churches and religious institutions, human rights, aid and development bodies, advocates and community organisations have joined the call to cease transfer of asylum seekers back to harm.
Paul Power, CEO of the Refugee Council of Australia said, “An innocent young girl of just five years old has been driven to attempting suicide because of the Australian Government’s inability to provide a satisfactory duty of care on Nauru. No child should be sent there and certainly not sent to a situation while the environment remains so dangerous.
“This young girl, who has shown sexualised behaviour, has self-harmed and is obviously profoundly and negatively impacted by the Australian Government’s policy of detaining children in extremely harsh environments, is indicative of the inability of the inadequacy of this current policy.
“Any parent would be appalled by the impact on this vulnerable young girl, and we call upon the Australian Government to immediately cease the transfer of vulnerable asylum seekers until all the recommendations of the Moss Review and the Cornall report are implemented.
“We call on the Australian Government to show some compassion for a young vulnerable girl and not return her, nor any other vulnerable people to Nauru until the safety and protection of all asylum seekers can be guaranteed.
“The recent Moss Review and Cornall Reports illustrated sexual abuse, including rape, violence, drugs for favours and a general failure to provide safety and security, particularly for women and children, highlighted the inappropriateness of Nauru as a place to send already vulnerable asylum seekers.
“The Government has accepted all recommendations in the Moss Report and as such, no further children, women, nor men should be sent to Nauru not Manus until all recommendations are satisfied and safety and security of children and women can be assured,” concluded Mr Power.
For the full statement and list of signatories, click here.
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