It’s an issue that just won’t go away, but every week, more reports about refugees waiting processing on Australia’s two offshore detention facilities on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island and the Pacific nation of Nauru are attempting self-harm.
Reports from Australian Media outlets and Refugee advocacy groups have claimed that at least nine refugees on Nauru have sown their lips together, while 15 others from the Middle East are on hunger strike.
It’s also emerged from Australian Immigration Department Internal Documents, that refugees are attempting suicide on a regular basis and they began only a month after the Nauru Centre was reopened in September last year.
A spokesman for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship confirmed to Press TV that a small number of people did attempt self-harm, but also said that those on hunger strikes are being monitored and were observed to be snacking and drinking fluids.
The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard said refugees attempting self-harm won’t help their asylum applications, reflecting an increasingly hardline stance on Boarder Control and People Smuggling.
Nick Riemer, from the Refugee Action Coalition says the Prime Minister’s comments aren’t helpful.
He also disputes Ms Gillard’s assertion about refugee processing wait times.
The Detention Centre is also causing damage to the Nauruan Government, with 2 Cabinet ministers departing President Sprent Dabwido’s administration, despite the fact that the Detention Centre is bringing much needed funds to the nation, which relies almost completely on Australian Aid.
Due to the sharp increase in boat arrivals, the Australian Government is ramping up its campaign aimed at refugees urging them not to aid people smugglers by traveling to Australia via boat.
But with over 12,000 refugees arriving in Australia via boats since June 2012, it’s clear that the message isn’t coming through.