Media Release

Media Release

Moss Inquiry clears Save the Children staff

20/03/2015

Save the Children welcomes the release of the Moss Inquiry which found no evidence that Save the Children staff on Nauru encouraged self-harm, fabricated abuse allegations or orchestrated protests.

However the child rights agency is deeply troubled by evidence provided in the report supporting claims of sexual and physical assaults against children and adults in mandatory immigration detention on Nauru.

Save the Children's CEO Paul Ronalds said, "We are proud of our dedicated staff on Nauru who work with some of the most vulnerable children in the toughest of circumstances. The idea that they could do anything to put children in harm's way is absurd. We have said this right from the very beginning. The Moss Inquiry shows beyond a doubt that there was and is no basis to these claims."

Mr Ronalds added, "What's deeply troubling is the evidence uncovered by the Moss Inquiry supporting allegations of sexual and physical assaults on Nauru including allegations of rape, one of which was against a child. Equally we are very concerned that the Moss Inquiry concludes that there has been an under-reporting of sexual and physical assaults on Nauru. There was never any need for fabrication or exaggeration by Save the Children staff – the evidence is clear.

Save the Children believes that, despite the efforts made to minimise harm caused to children and their families, the only way to guarantee the rights and wellbeing of asylum seekers on Nauru is for the Australian government to immediately end the practice of mandatory and prolonged detention. 

"The culture of secrecy surrounding our immigration system is at the heart of its problems. Australia cannot close its eyes to acts done it its name, so it is vital that our immigration system is transparent and accountable to the Australian people," Mr Ronalds said.

"The Australian government must continue moves towards accommodating children and their families within the community, and urgently prioritise an appropriate and sustainable third country resettlement option."

Mr Ronalds welcomed the Department of Immigration's decision to accept the Moss Inquiry recommendation that it review its decision to remove some of Save the Children's staff from Nauru. 

"These were some of our most talented and hardest working colleagues, and children and their families on Nauru will be the poorer for their absence. We look forward to working with the new Secretary of the Immigration Department and his team on this review," Mr Ronalds said.

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