An immediate moratorium on offshore transfers

24 April 2015
Childs drawing of a girl behind bars dreaming of freedom. Childs drawing of a girl behind bars dreaming of freedom. Source: Australian Human Rights Commission

The Uniting Church in Australia is one of more than 100 Australian organisations calling for an immediate moratorium on transfers to immigration detention facilities on Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.

The call by churches, human rights groups, aid agencies, faith-based organisations and others follows the case of a five year-old girl who attempted to commit suicide after an extended period of detention on Nauru.

“The plight of this poor young girl is a tragic example of the damage the Australian Government is doing by sending asylum seekers into such unsafe, harsh environments,” said Rev. Elenie Poulos of UnitingJustice Australia.

“The recent Moss Review and Cornall Reports into immigration detention highlighted shameful and disgusting examples of sexual abuse and violence against detainees on Nauru and Manus.

“The Federal Government’s wilful refusal to intervene to protect these vulnerable people is tantamount to condoning this abuse,” said Rev. Poulos.

The five year-old girl who self-harmed had shown signs of sexualised behaviour. She has been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and is currently being held in Darwin’s Wickham Point detention centre.

“We call on the Australian Government to show some compassion for a young vulnerable girl and not return her, nor any other vulnerable people to Nauru or Manus,” said Rev. Poulos.

To view the full statement and list of signatory organisations, see documents below.