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Asylum seeker families traumatised by Nauru experiences

A Turkish police officer carries a young boy who drowned in a failed attempt to sail to the Greek island of Kos.
A Turkish police officer carries a young boy who drowned in a failed attempt to sail to the Greek island of Kos. APP

THE door bangs and slams open, black-uniformed men carrying riot shields crowd a room where a family has cowered through the night - as they have every night - waiting for this moment.

Parents are separated from howling children, the wife from her husband. The purpose? To impose control ahead of the shipment of another traumatised family back to the hell hole that is Nauru.

"They know the moment will come," a woman who regularly visits the Darwin detention centre told the Sunshine Coast Daily.

"They don't sleep. Night after night they lay awake worrying if it will be their door that is bashed in.

"Welcome to Australia, 2015."

The scene is one played out regularly in Darwin. It is the norm.

"Babies are traumatised. You have Border Security in black uniforms. It's intimidating," the woman said.

The woman said that at Brisbane Immigration Transit Accommodation centre guards often tricked people with stories about a doctor's appointment then moved them to aircraft to be flown to Darwin for transport to Nauru or Manus Island.

There they could sit at the airport for up to 12 hours, in various states of medical recovery, waiting to be flown back into hell.

As the world reacts to the horrific images of a young Syrian boy's body lying drowned on a Turkish beach and the flight of thousands from the war-torn terror of Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, those who have set their sights on Australia in the past two years have discovered their own level of pain.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott yesterday declared his tough approach to stopping the boats was justified by events unfolding in Europe.

"We saw yesterday on our screens a very sad and poignant (image) of children tragically, tragically dead at sea in illegal migration," Mr Abbott told ABC radio.

"And thankfully, we've stopped that in Australia because we've stopped the illegal boats. We've said to the people smugglers, 'your trade is closed down'.

"As long as people think they can get here and they can stay here we'll have the illegal trade, we'll have the people smugglers in business, and we'll have the tragedies at sea.

"So if you want to keep people safe you've got to stop illegal migration, and that's what we've done."

This week a Senate inquiry into conditions on Nauru prompted by allegations of inhumane living conditions and sexual abuse, handed down its findings. It wants the immediate removal of children and families from detention.

The report, which found that "the present conditions and circumstances at the Regional Processing Centre on Nauru are not adequate, appropriate or safe for the asylum seekers detained there", was handed down on the same day Transfield Services was given a $2.4bn, five-year extension to its contract to run detention centres at Nauru and Manus Island.

See our special report on Monday on what is going on inside our asylum seeker detention centres.

 

Topics:  asylum seekers nauru refugees


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