Evidence gathered by Amnesty includes detailed allegations of recurrent self-harm and attempted suicide, children being hit by teachers and threatened with machetes, deficient medical care and persecution similar to that which refugees had experienced in their homelands. Amnesty concluded that the offshore processing regime was “explicitly designed to inflict incalculable damage on hundreds of women, men and children” as an act of deterrence, by isolating them on a remote place from which they cannot leave, with the specific intention that these people should suffer harm”.
Amnesty’s report paints a picture of a dysfunctional and cruel system where Australia exercises strict control but publicly passes the buck to Nauru, and where on-the-ground authorities lack the power to make decisions without Canberra’s permission.
Dr Anna Neitat, Amnesty’s senior director of research who travelled to Nauru, said that Australia should be held accountable for breaching the Convention Against Torture , with a possibility that officials could be prosecuted under international law.
The report states “The Australian government is not even hiding the fact that the key purpose of this policy is deterrence. When you set up a system that inflicts deliberate harm as a deterrence it’s really hard to find another name for it other than torture.”
Furthermore it is being shrouded in shocking secrecy.
There is overwhelming evidence that offshore detention is unsustainable and there is increasing public pressure for this policy to end. Let’s keep up the pressure.