Sexual abuse on Nauru

Letter from Nauru

Publisher’s Note: The Federal government is looking for ways to clear asylum seekers out of Nauru. What instructions are given to accelerate this? What is the hidden agenda to encourage departure? If the authorities make Nauru bad enough, perhaps some will take the money and go to Cambodia?
Remember failed UN intervention in Cambodia!*
Remember our own governements failed Intervention (still in place) and the way the Federal government used the Little Children are Sacred report to send the military into the Northern Territory to further displace the aboriginal population. The poverty and family pressure is created by continuing colonising. It can only be reversed by de-colonisation as is happening in Te Aurora (New Zealand).

I say to workers sympathetic with refugees at these facilities: Be careful what you wish for, don’t think that Australia is a good place – it is, but only for some. (˘_˘٥)

Ian Curr,
June 2015

*In a recent submission to the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee, the Brisbane lawyer Mark Plunkett, who had been UN Special Prosecutor in Cambodia during the UNTAC transitional process, put the problem as he found it in 1992 this way:

Cambodia was a country in a state of anarchy where there was wholesale execution of suspected offenders, arbitrary and indefinite detention without trial, torture of prisoners. Freedom of movement [was] inhibited by the extortion of money by the military and the police in the guise of illegal road tolls. Murder, abduction and arson of political opponents [was] commonplace. Large scale armed conflicts involving cattle thefts were frequent occurrences.

Furthermore there was:

no functioning judiciary, no rule of law, no operative criminal code, no powers of arrest, few jails of an acceptable standard; the population was heavily armed; and the resolution of disputes was easily affected by people simply shooting each other.



Security guards at Australia’s detention centre on Nauru allegedly circulated videos of themselves having sex with asylum seekers who had been paid to participate, a former senior social worker on the island has claimed.

Charlotte Wilson was, until February this year, a Save the Children case manager at the Nauru Regional Processing Centre. In her explosive submission to the Senate inquiry, which is investigating allegations of abuse at the facility, she claims to have been told it was “acknowledged in management meetings between service providers” that acts of “solicitation” were occurring in the community between female refugees and Australian security officers employed by Wilson Security.

“It was also established that these acts had been filmed and circulated around Wilson staff,” she said, of the rumours that began to circulate in January. She added: “I was also told that because prostitution is legal on Nauru that no action was being taken against the staff members involved.”


In her submission, which hasn’t yet been made public but has been obtained by Fairfax Media, Ms Wilson alleges she witnessed a security guard tell a group of single Somali women that if they run away, they would get “raped by the local boys”.

In March, a review into sexual abuse at Nauru found evidence of rape, sexual assault of minors and guards exchanging cannabis for sexual favours from female detainees.

The independent inquiry was called last October by former immigration minister Scott Morrison after he removed Save the Children staff from the island, on the advice of his own department, that they had aided protests and coached detainees to fabricate abuse claims.

The review, led by former integrity commissioner Philip Moss, dismissed the claims made against Save the Children personnel.

“I felt disbelief when my colleagues were stood down,” said Ms Wilson in her submission, adding: “Although no reason was given I surmised … it was related to the protests. Many of my clients informed me that protesting was the only way they felt they could express themselves and they felt there were no other channels available to them.”

Ms Wilson paints a bleak picture of living conditions at the facility in which previously healthy women had stopped menstruating and were experiencing “hair loss due to the stress on their bodies”.

She said she had worked directly with clients experiencing “complete breakdowns in their mental health”.

“On more than one occasion I have been present when an emergency code was called by security due to an attempted hanging. I have observed children at these scenes, which parents are unable to shield their children from due to the close proximity of tents.”

She said “profound damage” had been caused to “nearly every single man, woman and child” who has been “arbitrarily interned” in Nauru through “prolonged deprivation of freedom, abuse of power, confinement in an extremely harsh environment, uncertainty of future, disempowerment, loss of privacy and autonomy and inadequate health and protection services.”

Last week, the Senate committee heard that staff treating asylum seekers on Nauru were advised to withhold details of psychological impact from mental health reports.

Peter Young, who oversaw the mental health of asylum seekers in all Australian-run detention centres between 2011 to 2014, said the immigration department told doctors it didn’t want to hear about mental harm caused by detainment.

Australian Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said the more we learn about what’s going on in Nauru the worse it gets.

“Worst of all, the women and children subjected to this abuse remain on Nauru, unable to escape those who have exploited and abused them. This is wrong on every level,” she said.

“Nauru is a seedy, toxic and dangerous place. No women and children should be forced to stay there.”

Eamonn Duff and Adam Gartrel
Source – THE AGE 22 JUNE 2015

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