Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch [reports] reported Wednesday that Australia is ignoring inhumane treatment of refugees on the South Pacific island of Nauru in the hopes of deterring additional refugees from traveling to Australia. Individuals caught trying to travel into the country are sent to a camp on Manus Island or in Nauru according to the country’s immigration policy. These camps have been scrutinized for their harsh conditions, resulting in repeated instances of suicide. The Australian government claims the policy is in place to prevent individuals from downing at sea during their journey. In July a researcher from Amnesty International reported individuals on Nauru received inadequate medical care and were physically and sexually assaulted by residents.
A group of more than 750 detainees held on Manus Island asked [JURIST report] the Australian High Court in early May to order their transfer to mainland Australia and block a transfer to the detention center in the island nation of Nauru. In April the Papua New Guinea Supreme Court ruled [JURIST report] that Australia’s detention of asylum seekers on Manus Island in northern Papua New Guinea is illegal. The court found that the detention center violates Article 42 of Papua New Guinea’s Constitution, which guarantees personal liberty. Following the challenge in May, the Papua New Guinea Immigration authorities reported that the refugees at the processing center on Manus Island were no longer detained [JURIST report] and were allowed to leave the facility.