Weekly media wrap - 24 October 2016

Amnesty International released a report detailing evidence of child abuse and poor living conditions in Australian detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island. The report accuses the Australian Government of inflicting intentional harm on refugees and asylum seekers as part of attempts to deter potential offshore arrivals. In response to the report, The New York Times published an editorial condemning the Australian Government’s violation of international law.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection responded to the report late on Monday, saying Amnesty was repeating claims that had already been refuted by the Department and its contractors. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull rejected claims of state sponsored torture as ‘absolutely false’.  

The Australian Government passed an amendment to the Australian Border Force Act 2015 (Cth) which removes prohibitions on health professionals speaking out on the conditions in Australia’s offshore detention facilities. The amendment came after Doctors for Refugees launched a High Court challenge to the law.

Peter Dutton and the Nauruan government criticised an ABC Four Corners program aired on Monday night about refugee children on Nauru. Gaven Morris, the ABC’s director of news, defended the program, saying the lack of access to the island forced Four Corners to rely on remote interviews and the testimonies of staff who had worked there.