Since 2012, refugees arriving in Australia by boat have been transferred to offshore centers in small Pacific nations such as Nauru and Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island.
As of the end of June, Australia government records say that 442 people were in detention on Nauru, including a number of children, from Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, among other places. The Nauru government operates the detention center with support from Australia and private contractors.
Daily violence, suicide attempts and children left without medical treatment were among some of the allegations documented by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch during a visit to Australia’s detention center on the remote Pacific Island of Nauru in July.
Human Rights Watch Children’s Rights Division senior counsel Michael Bochenek was one of two researchers who visited the island with a legal visa, but without notifying authorities directly of his intent or who he worked for.
“In my experience there is no other developed country that I can think of who has pursued this course of conduct with people who are fleeing persecution, who are seeking freedom, who are accused of no crime,” Bochenek told CNN. “There is no parallel for this.”