Children in detention on Nauru are suicidal: Human rights advocate

Paul Hayes

19/09/2018 3:00:12 PM

Children on Nauru have ‘lost hope’ after five years in detention, Director of Legal Advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre told the UN Human Rights Council.

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There have been reports of hunger strikes, self-harm and attempted suicide among children in detention on Nauru. (Image: Jason Oxenham)

‘As the Australian Government sits here on this Council, professing its commitment to human rights, it is indefinitely imprisoning 102 children in its offshore refugee camp on Nauru,’ Daniel Webb, Director of Legal Advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre, told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
‘These children and their families have now been detained for over five years – imprisoned for fleeing the same atrocities our Government comes here and condemns.
‘And after five years of detention, these children have now lost hope. Some have stopped speaking. Some have stopped eating. A 10-year-old boy recently tried to kill himself.’
The mental wellbeing of children in detention on Nauru is said to be at ‘crisis point’, with reports of hunger strikes, self-harm and attempted suicide.
Healthcare professionals and advocates have also expressed concerns of children on Nauru experiencing resignation syndrome, ‘a rare psychiatric condition that presents as a progressive social withdrawal and reluctance to engage in usual activities such as school and play’.
‘Five years is absolutely huge in the life of a child. These kids should be free and full of curiosity and hope. Instead, they are growing up surrounded by suffering and despair,’ Mr Webb said.
The RACGP has previously called for improved care in offshore detention.
‘Our Government has failed to uphold its ethical obligations in accordance with international law and human rights standards,’ RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel told newsGP in late 2017. ‘The standard of care patients are receiving in these centres is anything but acceptable.’

Children in detention nauru refugee health UN Human Rights Council


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