The Nauru files: cache of 2,000 leaked reports reveal scale of abuse of children in Australian offshore detention

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The trauma and abuse inflicted on children held in Australia in detention in devastating offshore has exposed the largest cache of leaked documents released from inside his immigration regime.


More than 2,000 incident reports leaked from the detention camp in Australia for asylum seekers in the remote Pacific island of Nauru – a total of more than 8,000 pages – they are published by The Guardian today. Files Nauru established as never before assaults, sexual abuse, attempted self-harm, child abuse and living conditions suffered by asylum seekers held by the Australian government, painting a picture of dysfunction routine and cruelty.

analysis files The Guardian reveals that children are overrepresented in reports. More than half of the 2,116 reports – a total of 1,086 incidents, or 51.3% – involve children, although children represent only about 18% of detainees in Nauru during the time covered by the reports, mayo 2013 to October 2015. the findings come just weeks after the brutal treatment of youth in juvenile detention in the Northern Territory was exposed, leading to the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, the announcement of a wide public consultation.

Reports range from a guard allegedly grabbing a guy and threatening to kill him once he is living in the community guards allegedly hitting children in the face. By September 2014 a teacher reported that a classroom young assistant had asked four minute shower instead of a two-minute shower. “Your application has been accepted provided sexual favors. He is a person of male confidence. She did not indicate whether it has or has not occurred. The security officer wants to see a boy or a girl having a shower”.

Some reports contain regrettable examples of the behavior of traumatized children. According to a September 2014 report, a girl had sewn their lips. A guard saw her and started laughing at her. In July of that year, a child under 10 years old undressed and invited a group of adults to insert their fingers into the vagina; in February 2015 a young man gestured to her vagina and said a male asylum seeker “the cut below”.

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

Reports show extraordinary acts of desperation. A pregnant woman, after being told he would have to give birth in Nauru in October 2015, shaken and crying. “I give my baby to Australia to care,” he said with a social worker, adding: “. I do not want to have my baby in Papua New Guinea, the [Nauru hospital] or have it in this dirty environment”

files asking tough questions about how information about Nauru, one of the two detention centers offshore Australia for asylum seekers arriving by boat reported. They highlight serious concerns about the continuing risks to children and adults held on the island. They show how the Australian government has failed to respond to warning signs and reveal allegations of sexual assault – involving many children -. Which have never been reported previously

The most conclusive evidence is clear from the words of the staff working in the detention center themselves – people who prepare the reports. These social workers, guards, teachers and doctors have been charged with care of hundreds of asylum seekers on the island.

The publication is likely to renew calls for an end to the political stalemate that has seen children in the care of Australia languish in Nauru for more than three years.

state of Nauru is the smallest island in the world, home to just over 10,000 people. Australia provides support services and government purchasing companies and Nauru, leading to accusations of Nauru is indeed a “client state”. In the last official count at the end of June, 442 people – 338 men, 55 women and 49 children – were held at the regional processing center in Nauru. The other offshore center on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea, was holding 854 people, all men. Australia policy has been regularly criticized by the UN.

The Guardian published files, believing that Australians have the right to know more about the regime in Nauru and Manus centers, which costs $ Australian taxpayers 1.2 billion a year.

The documents cover the period considered in a review of allegations of sexual assault, the investigation of the Commission on Human Rights of Australia on children in detention, as well as the period examined by a Senate investigation and beyond . Covering the final days of the time working in the government and the ruling conservative coalition time in office since September 2013.

In each successive consultation, the Australian government and its contractors, including broad spectrum (formerly Transfield Services) and its subcontractor Wilson Security, have argued that conditions are improving and reporting measures to improve the quality of life on the island.

In April 2015, the immigration minister of Australia, Peter Dutton, said he wanted to Nauru a “safe environment”. He said he had “instructed the department to do what they can, both nationally within the network stop here and with our partners in regional processing centers, to ensure that the level of care is as high as it could be”.

Wilson Security has previously said the Australian parliament had “sound policies, procedures and processes that support operations in Nauru”.

He continued: “The accusations of sexual assault are treated in a timely and responsive manner where Wilson Security receives an allegation took immediate action after the communication or notification.”.

But records show a very different picture. Instead of decreasing the serious events, they continued – and in some cases intensified -. In the course of 2015. A large number of incidents of all never before been informed of the period

Many asylum seekers in Nauru power were unable to leave the compounds of detention during the period covered by the files . Some had been granted permission to leave on day trips but were carefully controlled to ensure that returned before curfews. Those found to be refugees were released in the community of Nauru -. And yet effectively still detained on the remote island

The main evidence from the files back to the testimony of staff members detention of former immigrants interviewed by The Guardian as part of its investigation.

Nauru access is tightly controlled. Events of the island sporadically presented through defenders and refugee claimants, but the policy of the Australian government wrapping his detention offshore secrecy has prevented the reporting of many serious incidents. Nauru files shatter the secret.

In response to the archives of Nauru, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection Australia said in a statement: “The Government of Australia continues to support the government of Nauru to provide for the health, welfare and safety of all transferees and refugees in Nauru

“the documents released today are evidence of the procedures for rigorous reporting are in place at the center of regional processing -. procedures under which should be registered any alleged incident, reported and investigated where appropriate. Many of incident reports reflect unconfirmed allegations or unsubstantiated statements and claims -. They not are findings of fact

“All alleged criminal acts within the regional processing center referred to the Police Nauru (NPF) for research is done. It encouraged refugees living in the community to report all criminal to the NPF incidents. a number of issues remain under active investigation.

“the department is reviewing the issues published today to ensure that all these issues have properly reported by the service providers in accordance with policies and procedures relating to these issues. “
the department added that” also takes seriously its role in supporting the government of Nauru to protect children abuse, neglect or exploitation. “

sexual violence and threats

allegations of sexual assault, particularly against young women are a persistent theme files. In a report of an asylum seeker he described is said he was “in a list” written by guards Nauru naming local single women who were “waiting”. “She has been offered to her pregnant when you leave,” wrote the social worker.

reveal allegations of misconduct by security guards Wilson in the detention center. In a report of a “cultural adviser” Wilson Security, the company that employs guards in the detention camp, allegedly told an asylum seeker who had been sexually assaulted in the camp that “rape in Australia is very common and people are not punished “.

The caseworker who presented the report wrote that the applicant for female asylum also told the guard had questioned whether the sexual assault had occurred and said: “If this happened to you, why not yell at the time “

” you have to get it out of your head if you enter Nauru then he [the alleged perpetrator] could be your neighbor or if you go to Cambodia so he could be on the plane with you, “the woman adviser was quoted as saying. “You also have to teach your child to treat this man very well.”

It has been reported that the bus drivers – employed by contractors Detention Australia – took voyeuristic photos of women in the field to use to masturbate. Other reports ranging from a man against threats of sexual violence by other asylum seekers to a woman who threatens self-harm because she does not want “men to touch his body.”

Speaking before the publication of the files Nauru, Professor Louise Newman, a former member of Immigration Health Advisory Group, said that such attacks have continued. She speaks “at night” women in Nauru who have been sexually assaulted.

“I am willing to say that the sexual assault of women is a major problem in Nauru,” says Newman. “Some of the descriptions of what is happening women is very worrying in terms of the lack of process.

” It’s not just an incident. If it was an incident and there had been a poor response in a developing country then maybe it was something to work on. I think what we’re seeing is a systemic lack of processes and understanding of this. “

Trauma and self-harm

Health and medical experts have constantly warned of the mental damage caused by prolonged detention. Records show in graphic detail how this damage is manifested.

a man asked a caseworker where he could buy bullets so he could get someone else to shoot. a woman sharpened a pencil with a razor blade, then wrists cut. Another tied a rope around his neck and tried to hang herself. She had to be supported by the guards until he could be reduced.

in a January 2015, a teenager struggled to cope after miscarriage from her mother. She started having “hallucinations of course a” little person, “the employee wrote a reserve children.

“Not sure if it’s a man or a woman, but it has a dark side and is the size of a child.” The hallucination had threatened to kill her: “On other occasions, the hallucination is encouraging [REDACTED] suicide.”

price on the mental health of children is particularly heavy. According to a report by April 2015 a girl started screaming “out of control” during a fight in a store recreation.

“During this time [REDACTED] also took him in his own constantly face and pulled his own hair,” he wrote the officer child protection. “It was noted that [REDACTED] could not breathe properly and had a glazed look in his eyes.”

Other records show bursts of anguish that some asylum seekers have become prone since his arrest: A report described a woman looking for a bandage after hitting a metal pole with both hands. Another told of a woman who started banging his head with his fists after an altercation with the woman guards.Another carved the name of her husband on his chest; I wanted a tattoo, but could not get one so I used a knife instead. Her husband lives in Australia.

Speaking to The Guardian before publication files Nauru, Dr. Peter Young, a former medical director of mental health for the immigration detention system in Australia, said: “Self-harm and suicide attempts increased steadily after six months of detention manner. This is driven by despair that is known to be the strongest predictor of suicide.

“Some self-harm, such as sewing lip, has a element of protest and it is common for prisoners as an expression of feeling powerless and voiceless. “


Other reports show the misery and difficulties in obtaining medical treatment. An asylum seeker woman suffering from urinary incontinence, complained that was not provided with sanitary towels for the treatment of the disease.

according to another report of a guard who allegedly refused to allow a minor child 10 use a toilet and made her squat on the floor instead. His mother told a worker the guard was then shone his torch on the genitals of the girl.

The records illustrate the often precarious conditions experienced by asylum seekers in the center, including frequent complaints of cockroaches that infest tents housing detainees.

One report indicates how the failure of companies to communicate traumatized asylum seekers. The provider of medical services Medical Services International Health and ran a “mass casualty simulation” which had people walking smeared with fake blood. But the plan teachers are not reported to save the children in the nearby school.

“The incident led to all students to start talking about self-harm incidents they had witnessed,” wrote a teacher. “They did not know it was false and so were forced to experience another incident at school, which should be a safe environment, distracting.”

files Nauru reports team: Paul Farrell, Nick Evershed, Helen Davidson, Ben Doherty, Ri Liu, Anna Livsey, David Constable, Tom Ross, Josh wall, Nikki Marshall, Merran Hitchick and Patrick Keneally

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