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Asylum-seekers inside the detention centre on Nauru (ABC News/Department of Immigration)

The growing number of men transferred to the Nauru Processing Centre are distressed and being denied access to human rights information, according to an independent advocacy group representing many of the detainees. Source: ABC News.

The offshore detention centre sat empty last year, but is filling up fast following the arrival of four boats of suspected asylum-seekers in recent months.

It is believed there are 64 people detained in Nauru following the arrival of 10 Chinese nationals on the northern tip of Western Australia last week.

The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) has not spoken with the most recent arrivals, but is in contact with 38 detainees who arrived earlier in the year from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.

Case manager Heidi Abdel-Raouf says the men are in shock to have found themselves imprisoned on a remote foreign island.

“The people we’ve spoken to on Nauru are reporting to us that they’re experiencing high levels of distress, anxiety, depression, sleeping issues, isolation, and some are expressing suicidal feelings,” she said.

Ms Abdel-Raouf said the men’s smartphones were removed and replaced by basic phones, so are unable to use apps to message or video call their loved ones.

The Department of Home Affairs has defended the conditions, pointing out it has outsourced primary responsibility to the Nauru government.

“Persons transferred and accommodated under regional processing arrangements are treated with respect and dignity and in accordance with human rights standards,” a spokesperson said.

“The Australian Government has contracted appropriately trained and experienced service providers … including the provision of health and welfare services.

“All individuals transferred to Nauru are provided with a mobile phone and have access to the internet.”

The federal Government is standing firm on its long-running policy of denying boat arrivals the option of settling in Australia, even if their asylum claim is approved.

Instead, the hundreds of people who have arrived on its northern shores are on a waiting list for resettlement in countries such as the United States and Cambodia.


Asylum Seeker Resource Centre with human rights concerns as Nauru detention centre fills with boat arrivals (By Erin Parke and Rosanne Maloney, ABC News)