ONE YEAR AFTER SCATHING FINDINGS AND URGENT RECOMMENDATIONS, NOTHING HAS CHANGED.
12 September 2016: Australian Senate referred the matters of ABUSE, SELF-HARM and NEGLECT OF PEOPLE SEEKING ASYLUM HELD ON NAURU AND MANUS ISLAND to Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report.
21 April 2017: Report with findings and recommendations provided to Australian government
The Senate Committee found “an unsafe living environment—especially for children“ … a “disturbing” lack of accountability and transparency from the Australian government including a failure to clearly acknowledge duty of care …and more.
The Senate Committee recommended:
- an urgent review of medical transfer procedures
- improvements to medical treatment – particularly mental health services
- recognition of the impacts of long-term immigration detention with an independent assessment of effects on physical and mental health
- an external audit and investigation into all incident reports (and their inconsistencies i.e. downgrading, consistency of follow-up)
- an independent children’s advocate to represent the rights of children being held on Nauru
- the capacity for any asylum seeker or refugee transferred to Australia to apply US refugee resettlement WITHOUT returning to Nauru/PNG
- serious consideration of all resettlement offers e.g from New Zealand
- support for family members to resettle together
- increased Australian funding to the UNHCR
- an increase in Australia’s annual refugee intake and
“First and foremost, the Australian Government must acknowledge that it controls Australia’s RPCs. … The Australian Government clearly has a duty of care in relation to the asylum seekers who have been transferred to Nauru or Papua New Guinea. To suggest otherwise is fiction.”
Since those recommendations, the evidence indicates that policy and operations have only become harsher and that the Australian government continues to deny responsibility. e.g.
DEC 2017: Government policy encourages refugees held on Nauru to sever ties with their families – including relinquishing all rights to ever see their children – in order to be considered for resettlement in the US
RIGHT NOW, YOU CAN:
1) Contact the members of the Senate Committee whose work was ignored and ask them of their plans to remind the government of its obligations:
CLICK HERE TO SEND AN EMAIL TO EVERY SENATOR ON THE COMMITTEE A sample of what you might write is here
or contact them individually using the links below
Louise Pratt (ALP, WA) (Chair)
Ian Macdonald (LNP, QLD) (Deputy Chair)
Patrick Dodson (ALP, WA)
Linda Reynolds (LP, WA) until 15.02.2017 then replaced by
David Fawcett (LP, SA)
Nick McKim (AG, TAS)
Murray Watt (ALP, QLD)
Derryn Hinch (DHJP, VIC) (Participating member)