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Moss Review released

By Sev Ozdowski - posted Tuesday, 24 March 2015

I welcome the release of government commissioned report by former integrity commissioner Phillip Moss into claims of sexual harassment and abuse, including three allegations of rape, inside the Australian-funded Nauru immigration detention centre.

The report also investigated allegations that staff on Nauru employed by the charity, Save the Children, encouraged refugees to self-harm or manipulate abuse allegations.

The report found the testimony of asylum seekers was credible and convincing, although their veracity could not be verified. It also found some cases of sexual and physical assault were not being reported.


The report also found that the allegations that the Save the Children staff encouraged refugees to self-harm or manipulate abuse allegations are not proven.  To read the Moss Review click here.

The report clearly indicates that the Nauru facility is not a proper place to hold children and that major changes need to be made.

The immigration department secretary said that his organisation has accepted all 19 recommendations in the report, many of which call for better training for centre staff and Nauruan police and officials while others focus on child protection. The immigration minister, Peter Dutton vowed to work with Nauruan police to build the capacity of local investigators.

Similar response was made by the Nauru government undertaking to make improvements in how the Nauru detention centre is administered.

The key point, however, is that there is no place at all for children in immigration detention and that the Australian immigration laws and practices should be changed to ensure our international obligations and in particular those under the CRC article 37 that mandates that “detention is a measure of last resort” to be used only “for shortest appropriate period of time” and be “subject of effective independent review” are being fully adhered to.

The findings of my 2004 A last Resort inquiry fully demonstrated the negative consequences of for children of mandatory detention and in particular that long term immigration detention clearly exposes children to enormous mental stress.  


The recent AHR Commission President Triggs the Forgotten Children report also further exposed the impact of detention on children.

Although I acknowledge the progress the Abbott government has made in reducing the number of children in immigration detention to date, I call upon the government to release all the remaining children, with their families, immediately and to change the relevant legislation.

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About the Author

Dr Sev Ozdowski OAM is Adjunct Professor at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, The University of Sydney and was Australian Human Rights Commissioner and Disability Discrimination Commissioner (2000-05).

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