Between 2013 and 2015 Save the Children provided support to children and their families on Nauru. Our child protection staff, teachers and social workers witnessed first-hand the devastating physical and mental impacts of detention of children. To this day Save the Children remains deeply concerned for the children on Nauru.
Save the Children CEO Paul Ronalds said: “Today marks five years since Australia opened offshore processing facilities on Nauru. Tragically, there are still 124 children languishing indefinitely. From our own experience on Nauru, we know that the children there face many risks to their mental and physical well being.”
The impact of prolonged uncertainty and despair on children is well documented. In August 2016 leaked government documents revealed 30 reports of self-harm involving children and 159 reports of threatened self-harm involving children over a period of roughly two years.
While some children and their families have been permanently resettled in the US, progress on the US resettlement deal is lagging, leaving those left on Nauru in limbo.
Mr Ronalds emphasised the importance of accelerating progress on the US resettlement deal, or finding an alternate solution, so children no longer had to live in crippling uncertainty.
“Despite five years passing by, and many assurances being made, the fact is too many children still face uncertain futures,” Mr Ronalds said.
“As Save the Children demonstrated throughout our time on Nauru, we will never stop advocating for the rights of vulnerable children.
“Save the Children appreciates that there are no easy solutions to this wicked ethical problem that pits safety of human lives at sea with our duty to treat other humans who seek our help in a humane way. Globally, the sheer number of people fleeing conflict and persecution is challenging policymakers to offer protection and dignity to a dramatically increased number of people.
“But we cannot blind ourselves to the real human consequences of Australia’s policies.
“We urge the acceleration of the US resettlement deal to afford these children genuine safety, hope and the chance for a viable future.
“If such acceleration cannot be guaranteed, then the only humane and reasonable option open to the Australian Government is to relocate these children and their families to Australia, so their safety can be guaranteed.”
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