The Truth Of How We’re Treating Kids On Nauru Came Out Today, And It’s Beyond Horrific

Trigger warning: violence, sexual assault.

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All day today, doctors, nurses and health professionals have been giving evidence about the conditions children in Australia’s detention centre on Nauru have been living in.

Here are some of the highlights:

“On occasions I observed adolescent girls engaged in what I would describe as flirtatious behaviour with adult male guards, and I also had a colleague report to me that he had observed an adult male guard stroking a fifteen-year-old girl’s hair”.

“I had a seven-year-old girl, who for six weeks asked me every time she saw me if I could get her some shorts or a t-shirt — she was wearing a skivvy and tracksuit pants — and after six weeks her mum said, ‘I now have a mosquito net, I will now make this into a dress for her daughter'”.

“The sixteen-year-old boy was near the toilet-box and there was a male cleaner on his own in the centre…he touched the young boy’s genitals, and then grabbed his own genitals and said ‘jiggy-jig’…at that point guards were alerted because the young person was screaming out and had kicked at the cleaner”.

“I am aware of some issues with a single father and his two children…he was assaulted by security staff, so obviously he went for treatment and there was some concern that his children are then not able to have a caregiver with them”.

“Children generally just used rocks and stones, and they would play in the dirt…They didn’t really have much to do, they would pick up industrial waste and sticks, things like that”.

“Their boat ID is used all the time. Children are not referred to by their name…Children would often identify themselves by their boat ID, so when you asked their name, they would tell you what their boat ID was”.

Those quotes come from Kirsty Diallo, a former child protection officer for Save The Children who worked on Nauru from late October 2013 to late January 2014. Diallo gave evidence to the national inquiry into children in immigration detention this afternoon. Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) president Gillian Triggs, who is chairing the inquiry, is using her powers to compel health workers who have treated asylum seekers on Nauru to testify on the conditions inside Australia’s detention centre on the island.

Unsurpisingly, these conditions are causing serious mental health problems in kids. What’s even worse, though, is that the government has actively told doctors to cover up the proof — earlier today psychiatrist Dr Peter Young told the inquiry that Department of Immigration officials had urged him to delete figures from a report showing the extent of mental health problems children on Nauru were experiencing.

You can watch the inquiry in its entirety below; Diallo starts giving evidence at 1:05:00, and again at 3:11:00.