Weekly media wrap - 15 August 2016

The Guardian Australia published the ‘Nauru files’ – more than 2,000 leaked incident reports detailing occurrences of violence, including the self harm and sexual abuse of children, at Australia’s offshore immigration detention centre on Nauru. Following the release, Australian human rights groups urged that the allegations contained in the reports be investigated as part of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse, and the UNHCR called for all refugees and asylum seekers to be immediately moved from the island. Immigration Minister Peter Dutton responded to the allegations by questioning the integrity of refugees and asylum seekers in offshore facilities, and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull opposed calls for a royal commission.

Allegations of abuse were also made by an asylum seeker held at the Manus Island immigration detention centre in Papua New Guinea, strengthening calls for an independent inquiry into human rights abuses at offshore facilities. The allegations come as PNG’s Supreme Court set August 22nd as the date it will decide whether Australia is legally responsible for asylum seekers and refugees on Manus Island.

The head of Operation Sovereign Borders Major General Andrew Bottrell said keeping details of asylum seeker boat turnbacks secret from the Australian public was essential for national security. The comments were made during a landmark freedom of information case initiated by Guardian Australia journalist Paul Farrell, seeking access to government orders to executive turnback operations in 2013 and early 2014.

The Australian Government contracted a second refugee resettlement agency to provide services to the sole refugee in Cambodia, resettled from Nauru as part of the Cambodia deal. The ABC reported that the Department of Immigration and Border Protection declined to comment on the reasons for the new arrangement.