Child welfare in Nauru's prison camp

Issue 

Activists unfurl banner off eastern freeway overpass in Melbourne

As calls mount for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to back down from plans to return 267 asylum seekers and refugees, including 27 babies, to Nauru, Refugee Action Coalition has revealed two examples of the way law and order and child services operate on Nauru.

An Iranian refugee sole parent has been in jail since January 27 on Nauru. His eight-year-old daughter has been cared for by another refugee family since was he was abruptly taken into custody.

But, neither the Nauruan authorities nor the Australian service provider, Connect, have even enquired about the welfare of his daughter.

Why is this man in jail? The man had moved himself and his daughter into empty accommodation in Nibok on the west of the island. Connect objected to the move and called police.

The Iranian man has now been held in jail for more than two weeks. He appeared in court on February 8. The exact charge was unclear, but he was returned to jail.

The second incident involves a young female Iranian asylum seeker who was arrested after an argument with guards at the mess in the single women's section of the family camp.

On February 8 at about 7pm the Iranian woman tried to take some food out of the mess to her room. The mess closes at 8pm and doesn't reopen until the morning so asylum seekers are left without food for a long time.

Wilson security guards confronted her; there was an altercation and the food was taken from her. At about 10pm, Wilson security guards arrived at the single women's compound with Nauruan police to arrest the woman.

The Refugee Action Coalition said: “Around five or six police grabbed her, pushed her and smashed her to the ground. She was handcuffed with her hands behind her back and she was dragged to the police car. She was put in the back of the [police] car.”

She was released a few hours later but has been told she will be charged over the incident. She has been left with abrasions and bruises as a result of the incident.

Spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition Ian Rintoul said: “This is more evidence of the lack of the rule of law on Nauru. The police are simply an extension of Wilson's and the detention regime on the island.

“Even worse perhaps, the lack of concern for the eight-year-old reveals the complete failure of both the Nauruan and Australian authorities, and the lack of child welfare services on Nauru.

“The on-going inadequacy of effective protection for asylum seekers and refugees on Nauru is a major reason the 267 presently in Australia should be allowed to stay.”

‪#‎letthemstay‬ art installation on Bondi beach, 27 cots with baby dolls and wire

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