Suspend offshore refugee transfers

Issue 
Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network question why the Moss Inquiry report has not been released.

The Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network released this statement on February 27.

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The Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network (DASSAN) has called on the government to immediately halt all transfers of asylum seekers to offshore detention centres until the report into allegations of sexual abuse on Nauru has been released.

The Moss Inquiry report was provided to the Minister for Immigration and Border protection on February 9, but its findings have not been made public, and there has been no timeframe provided for its release.

“We are very concerned by the delay in the release of this report,” DASSAN spokesperson Ben Pynt said this morning. “There have been repeated allegations of sexual assault and harassment in the Nauru Regional Processing Centre and while the minister sits on this report that contains the facts, women and children may continue to be in the care of the perpetrators.

“The government has a duty of care to ensure asylum seekers in detention are safe and nobody –not vulnerable people, and definitely not children – should be sent offshore when their safety can’t be guaranteed.

“They need to release the report immediately, act on its findings, and ensure no child or adult is sent to danger.”

A teenage girl remains in hospital with serious injuries after she jumped from a Darwin detention centre balcony last week. According to ABC reports, she allegedly suffered sexual abuse while on Nauru. Earlier this year she and her family were transferred to Darwin for medical treatment but they could be forced to return to Nauru.

“It speaks volumes when a child chooses to hurt herself in such a horrifying way rather than go back to Nauru,” Mr Pynt said.

“People in detention are telling us they have heard a transfer offshore will happen in the next few days. They don’t know who it will be, so everybody is worried. Sadly it isn’t surprising that incidents of self-harm are happening amid an environment of fear, uncertainty, and generalised depression.

“There are people who were brought to Darwin with serious medical conditions. They are afraid they’ll be sent back before they receive necessary treatment, which they can’t get at the offshore centres. There are severely depressed children who say they dread being taken back to Nauru. There are people asking why the report by Philip Moss has not been released, and we are asking the same.”

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