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Refugees accused of false claims

Friday 12 August 2016 | Published in Regional

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AUSTRALIA – The Australian immigration minister Peter Dutton has accused some asylum seekers detained by Canberra on Nauru of making false claims of sexual assault.

Dutton was responding to the leaking of thousands of files alleging abuse of children and adults in Nauru’s offshore immigration detention centre by saying some refugees are

self-harming and filing false claims in an effort to get to Australia.

More than 2000 incident reports published by The Guardian outline various allegations of abuse, including assaults, sexual assaults and self-harm between 2013 and 2015.

Human rights and refugee advocacy groups have seized on the documents as proof that the Government is overseeing a failed detention system, but Dutton said some of the incidents were false reports.

The Immigration Minister said the allegations would be investigated by Nauruan authorities, but “some people do have a motivation to make a false complaint”.

“I have been made aware of some incidents that have reported false allegations of sexual assault, because in the end, people have paid money to people smugglers and they want to come to our country,” he said.

“Some people have even gone to the extent of self-harming and people have self-immolated in an effort to get to Australia. Certainly some have made false allegations.”

Dutton also responded to what he called “hype” by saying that the centre was on Nauru, not Australia.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull rejected renewed calls from the Green party for a royal commission to be established to investigate the claims further.

Turnbull said the government would assess the information that was now in the public domain.

“It will be carefully examined to see if there are complaints there or issues there that were not properly addressed,” he said.

Turnbull yesterday avoided taking questions on the issue when addressing media at Parliament House.

In response, the Refugee Action Coalition said Immigration Minister Dutton had again shamed himself and disgraced his office with unsubstantiated, ill-considered and offensive claims about refugees.

- PNC sources