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What’s really going on at Nauru? Alarming results from the Moss report

Moss report finds damning evidence of dangerous conditions for the most vulnerable detainees at Nauru detention centre

What’s really going on at Nauru? Alarming results from the Moss report

The 86-page independent review by former integrity commissioner Philip Moss has found evidence of physical and sexual abuse in the Nauru detention centre.  The deeply concerning findings include:

  • Two reports of rape, one involving another detainee who was then granted Nauruan refugee status. Another involving a ‘contract service provider staff member’. There are concerns that detainees are not reporting sexual abuse.
  • Several incidences of sexual abuse of children who are being propositioned by service provider staff members.
  • Sexual harassment involving guards telling detainees they could only have showers longer than two minutes if guards could watch them undress.
  • Guards propositioning detainees with offers of cigarettes and chewing gum for sex.
  • Up to 17 children engaging in self-harming behaviours at the centre, between October 2013 to October 2014. These involved lip stitching, swallowing detergent, arm cutting and an attempt at hanging. An 11 year old child who had swallowed a metal bolt was the youngest reported to have self-harmed.
  • Guards“possibly” taking advantage of depressed female detainees by introducing them to, and supplying them with marijuana in return for sexual favours.
  • 12 guards have been sacked for misconduct

There was no proof regarding allegations that staff from the charity Save the Children had encouraged detainees to self-harm.


Children detained on Nauru demonstrating (Refugee Rights Action Network: Victoria Martin-Iverson)


The Immigration Department ordered 10 members from the charity to leave the island after they made claims of sexual abuse against women and children in the detention centre.

Immigration Department secretary Mike Pezullo said his organisation has accepted all 19 recommendations in the report.

“The report does not find any conclusive evidence that the Save The Children employees in any way actively encouraged protest activity or the like,” he said.

Labor has blasted the Government’s blasé response to the report, after Tony Abbott said institutions “aren’t perfect”.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton insisted the security of detainees was of great importance to both Nauru and Australia.

“It’s not something that we would accept in Australia and it’s not something that the Nauruans accept in their community either,” he said.

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