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Nauru says abuse claims ‘fabricated’

Wednesday 17 August 2016 | Published in Regional


Australia media accused of using refugees as pawns

NAURU – The Nauruan Government has criticised the coverage of alleged abuse in its immigration detention centre, saying most claims are fabricated.

It also blamed Greens politicians and the Australian media for “using refugees as pawns”.

“Most refugee and advocate claims on Nauru fabricated to achieve goal to get to Australia,” the Nauru government’s official Twitter account said.

“So called ‘reports’ based solely on these claims. Australia left wing media, Greens MPs and advocates still using refugees as pawns for their political agendas. Very sad. ”

The comments were posted on Twitter one week after The Guardian published thousands of leaked files detailing allegations of abuse, including assaults, sexual assaults and self-harm between 2013 and 2015.

Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton responded to the report saying some refugees were self-harming and filing false claims in an effort to get to Australia, views echoed by the Nauruan Government.

The reports have prompted calls for a Senate inquiry from Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, as well as a push for a royal commission from the Greens.

Labor Senator Katy Gallagher said Labor would continue to support offshore processing, but “that doesn’t mean that instances of abuse should be ignored”.

“This is not something that can be swept under the carpet,” she said.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young told the ABC it was disappointing that “those who are brave enough to report their assaults are then called liars by the very people who are supposed to be protecting them”.

“This is exactly why we need an independent judiciary inquiry and why the Greens will be moving for a royal commission when Parliament resumes,” she said.

“The immigration minister and others are helping to protect abusers by bringing the credibility of their victims into question. They should be ashamed of themselves. ”

The Law Council of Australia has also called for the appointment of an independent inspector of immigration detention.

In a statement, Law Council of Australia president Stuart Clark said such an appointment – alongside that of an independent monitor for migration laws – was necessary.

Yesterday, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse issued a statement confirming there was an ongoing investigation in relation to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s response to allegations of child sexual abuse in detention centres.

It said it had not yet determined if a public hearing was necessary and could not clarify whether it included offshore centres. - ABC