Tracey Barnett: New Zealand’s Silence On Nauru is Complicity By

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The abuse revealed in over 8,000 pages of incident reports on Australia’s offshore detention prisons by The Guardian yesterday signals another troubling fact, the New Zealand government has chosen to remain silent over the ‘grave concern’ of inhumane and ‘urgent’ conditions cited by the UNHCR happening in our own backyard.


Statistics revealed in testimony for a 2015 Australian Congressional report tell their own story in a snapshot of systemic abuse cited:


Number of children then held on Nauru: 93

(Plus another 104 on mainland centres)


Number of reported child abuse incidents on Nauru only. 67.

Number of which are against staff at the facility. 30

Number of staff charged. 0


Number reported raped or sexually assaulted. 33


Number of reported self-harm or suicide attempts. 253.

(That’s on average one every four days.)


Number of reported assaults on detainees. 211.

(That’s on average one every five days).


Number of years, under Australian law, that any staff member can now be jailed for speaking to the press on what is happening in these facilities. 2 years.


Cost to make an application for a press pass to Nauru (even if it is denied). $8,000.


As fair brokers in our region and on the world stage on asylum and refugee treatment, WagePeaceNZ calls on the New Zealand government to urge Australia to disband their inhumane and abusive offshore detention regime.   Currently, the UNHCR has issued a statement calling for ‘refugees and asylum-seekers to be immediately moved off Nauru to humane conditions.’


New Zealand should open its doors as a one-time gesture to accommodate these long suffering refugees, as we did with such positive and successful results for the Tampa survivors.



Media Contact: Tracey Barnett




Note from Human Rights Foundation: see Guardian report here