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At Australia's Refugee Camp, Chilling Abuse, Rape

Guardian reports on rape, child abuse at Nauru
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 10, 2016 10:51 AM CDT
At Australia's Refugee Camp, Chilling Abuse, Rape
This 2001 photo shows a refugee camp on Nauru.   (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft, File)

(Newser) – More than 2,000 leaked incident reports from Australia’s detention camp for asylum seekers on the Pacific island of Nauru reveal what the Guardian describes as "routine dysfunction and cruelty," including assaults, rape, and incidents of self-harm. About half of the incident reports from May 2013 to October 2015 involve children, who made up just 18% of the 442 people held at the camp in tents crawling with cockroaches. In one case, a child said a male asylum seeker "cut her from under," pointing to her vagina. Another child "gouged at her own face consistently and pulled her own hair," while a third swallowed a cup of cleaning fluid, the reports state, per CNN. Yet another reportedly sewed her mouth shut, drawing laughs from a guard.

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Guards are accused of asking to watch children in the shower, slapping children across the face, and uttering death threats. Bus drivers on site are accused of taking voyeuristic photos of women. Amnesty International accuses the Australian government of a "mass cover-up," per CNN. "They've repeatedly said this kind of abuse has not been going on. They've been lying," a rep says. The Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection says it is working to "confirm all of these matters have been previously and appropriately reported." However, it adds "many of the incident reports reflect unconfirmed allegations" since all incidents at the camp are recorded. Criminal claims, it says, are reported to the Nauru Police Force. (Child abuse allegations have also hit this Australian center.)

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