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2 September 2015

UNICEF Australia welcomes the Senate Committee report into the circumstances and conditions at the regional processing centre on Nauru, which was released this week.

The report reiterates many of the serious concerns for children and families already raised through the Forgotten Children Inquiry and the Moss Review.

UNICEF Australia’s chief technical adviser Amy Lamoin said, "there is overwhelming evidence confirming that children cannot grow up safely, or have any form of healthy development in immigration detention settings."

"This is now the second major reporting outlining the severity of the situation for children detained in the Regional Processing Centre on Nauru.”

UNICEF Australia remains seriously concerned about access to justice for children who have experienced sexual abuse, violence and harassment while being held in Australia’s immigration detention network.  We support the Senate Committee recommendation for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and the Australian Federal Police to conduct a full audit and comprehensive follow up of all allegations of child sexual abuse and other criminal misconduct.

“It remains unclear what specific measures the Australian and Nauruan Governments will put in place to prevent abuse from continuing, or occurring in the future,” said Ms Lamoin. 

“Safe complaints procedures for children and families who remain in detention are required as a matter of urgency”.  

Nauru is simply not a solution for asylum seeker children and families.  The harsh physical conditions on the island, the gaps in governance and core support services, and limited options for quality education or livelihoods make it unlikely that children and their families will be able to settle safely or successfully in the future.