05 October 2015
The Nauru Government’s reported changes to detention arrangements in that country, if accurate, are a worrying diversion. The fact is that offshore processing is fundamentally wrong and should be shut down completely, not just in the Republic of Nauru but also in Papua New Guinea.
The announcement by the Nauru Government raises many more questions than answers. For a start the centre is run by the Australian Government so how can the Nauru Government even make the promise to process the detainees? How on earth can they do it legally and humanely with 600 people in just a week? How can a small homogenous society with such limited infrastructure and job prospects integrate such a large number of new and culturally diverse people? How can any guarantees be given for the safety of asylum seekers released into the community when so many have already suffered such shocking abuse at the hand of locals? And what about all the children currently in detention without their families?
There is no way the Nauru Government would do this without the encouragement and imprimatur of the Australian Government. The Republic of Nauru is virtually a failed state and the Government only survives with the benefit of Australian financial and other assistance. Another question needing an answer is how much money has the Australian Government offered Nauru for this turn of events?
I want people out of detention as much as anyone but this reported announcement by the Nauru Government is a recipe for anarchy and violence. Let’s hope it’s a misreport or a reckless thought bubble by someone in Nauru. The Australian Government needs to bring the detainees back to Australia, finalise their applications for protection and provide permanent refuge for those asylum seekers with legitimate claims.