Rights groups slam Nauru asylum camp
AUSTRALIA is pursuing a deliberate policy of abuse in its treatment of asylum seekers on the Pacific island of Nauru to deter others from arriving by boat, two global human rights groups said yesterday.
The report by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch is a scathing criticism of Canberra’s immigration policy under which asylum seekers trying to reach Australia by boat are sent back or taken to Papua New Guinea and Nauru.
The government insists they settle in the Pacific islands or return home and denies them resettlement in Australia even if they are refugees.
In the latest criticism of the policy, Amnesty and HRW said asylum seekers and refugees on Nauru suffered “severe abuse, inhumane treatment, and neglect”.
The government’s “failure to address serious abuses appears to be a deliberate policy to deter further asylum seekers from arriving in the country by boat”, it added.
Doctors, lawyers and refugee advocates have previously criticised the offshore settlement, with allegations that some asylum seekers suffered sexual abuse and mental health problems while in the camp. –
Supporters of asylum seekers sent to Nauru have accused the Australian government of abuse.