RESPONDING to the ‘Nauru Files’ leak that revealed thousands of refugee abuse complaints, Australia’s Immigration Minister said some asylum-seekers placed at its offshore detention center inflicted self-harm and made false claims in a bid to enter Australia.
Peter Dutton said although the Nauruan authorities were investigating the claims, there was a tendency among some of the refugees to be motivated by making false complaints.
“I have been made aware of some incidents that have reported false allegations of sexual assault, because in the end, people have paid money to people smugglers and they want to come to our country,” he was quoted as saying on ABC Radio Australia (via 2GB Radio).
“Some people have even gone to the extent of self-harming and people have self-immolated in an effort to get to Australia. Certainly some have made false allegations.”
Yesterday, The Guardian released a large cache of over 2,000 documents showing asylum seekers describing their “atrocious” living conditions, in an illustration of cruelty and routine dysfunction as a norm. In the complaints, the refugees claimed horrific accounts of torture, sexual abuse, and other human rights violations.
Dutton’s remark echoed the Department of Immigration and Border Protection statement that “many of the incident reports reflect unconfirmed allegations or uncorroborated statements and claims – they are not statements of proven fact”.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull brushed aside calls by the Australian Greens political party for the formation of royal commission to provide a deeper probe into the claims.
However, Turnbull said the authorities were looking into the claims based on the information that had been made public.
“It will be carefully examined to see if there are complaints there or issues there that were not properly addressed,” he said.