REFUGEE ACTION COALITION REJECTS NAURU GOVERNMENT CRITICISMS
The Refugee Action Coalition rejects the assertions of the Nauruan government made in a press release specifically attacking the Refugee Action Colaition.
“The press release was nothing more than self-serving rhetoric designed to cover-up the serious levels of violence on the island,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.
The Nauru government has a history of publishing misleading press releases regarding the treatment of refugees meant to be in their care. In March they denied the police violence when arresting peaceful refugee protesters. They specifically denied arresting children during those protests until their own police and court reports revealed otherwise. The abuse of women, children and men held in custody at that time is well documented.
Despite the claims made in the press release about domestic violence, the Nauru government stands condemned by its own publications that admit the high level of domestic violence on Nauru.
The Nauru country plan published in July 2014, by the Pacific Forum says,
“…there is a general consensus that domestic violence, including sexual and physical violence against children and against women is a growing problem on the island.”
Nauru’s own, Nauru’s Universal Periodic Review in January 2011 recorded that domestic violence was ‘systemic’ on the island.
Tragically it is the official attitude of the government denying basic rights to refugees that encourages a minority on Nauru to regard refugees as literally second -class citizens who can be preyed upon with impunity.
Local Nauruans have broken into the house that accommodates unaccompanied minors, sometimes with violent and threatening behavious at least six times in the last 12 months, the latest incident only in August.
On the case of the attacks on the two boys reported by the Refugee Action Coalition, it was other local Nauruans who witnessed the attacks and called the police. But the police have never interviewed those local witnesses.
Nor is it co-incidental that the Nauruan police have not investigated the series of rapes of refugee women on the island. In May, the Nauruan police denied for four days that an Iranian woman had been raped, before finally admitting the truth. The New Zealand government has recently withdrawn funding to Nauru’s judicial system because it is not independent and accountable and because of their growing concern at civil rights abuses on the island.
“It is to the eternal shame of the Australian government that it has been rendered mute in the face of the abuses on Nauru,” said Rintoul,
“But their silence is evidence of their own complicity.”
Neither the Australian nor the Nauruan government will face up to it, but the facts are on the side of the Refugee Action Coalition.
For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713