The Uniting Church has demanded the immediate closure of Australia’s offshore detention centres following the publication of leaked documents from the Nauru facility. More than 2000 reports detailing harrowing incidents of physical, sexual and psychological abuse were collated and published by the Guardian Australia last month. Over half of the documents involve incidents with children.
“The revelations confirm again the criminal culture of abuse brought about by deliberately cruel policies which dehumanise asylum seekers, particularly the young and vulnerable,” Rev Elenie Poulos, national director of UnitingJustice Australia, said in responding to the publication.
“The Nauru detention centre must be closed immediately. All people seeking asylum should be brought to Australia and given the best care and support we have to offer.
“This has been the Uniting Church’s position since the beginning of offshore detention, and today’s evidence shows that it has never been more urgent that the camps on Nauru and Manus are closed as soon as possible.”
President of the Uniting Church in Australia Stuart McMillan added his voice to the growing number of advocates calling for a national summit on alternatives to Australia’s refugee policies.
“The federal government should hold a summit to explore alternatives to the current policies which include the mandatory detention and offshore processing of people seeking asylum,” Mr McMillan said.
“The recent accounts of abuse and mistreatment on Nauru are just the latest in a mountain of evidence of cruelty and abuse. People are not safe there and the only way to ensure their safety is to bring them to Australia. We must offer them the best available care while their claims for protection are processed.”
UnitingJustice is calling on congregations to write to their local MP in response to the Nauru Files. They have a letter-writing guide to assist congregation members who wish to contact their MP. You can download it at this link: bit.ly/NauruAction