Serious allegations of abuse, self-harm and neglect of asylum seekers in relation to the Nauru Regional Processing Centre, and any like allegations in relation to the Manus Regional Processing Centre

21 April 2017

© Commonwealth of Australia 2017
ISBN 978-1-76010-563-1

View the report as a single document - (PDF 1933KB)

View the report as separate downloadable parts:

Members of the committee (PDF 25KB)
Chair's foreword (PDF 93KB)
Abbreviations (PDF 8KB)
Recommendations (PDF 71KB)
Chapter 1 - Introduction and background (PDF 194KB)

Referral of the Inquiry
Conduct of the inquiry
A note on terminology
Report structure

Chapter 2 - Allegations of abuse, neglect and self-harm (PDF 353KB)

The Nauru files
Allegations of abuse and self-harm among refugees and asylum seekers
Phosphate mining and cadmium exposure in Nauru

Chapter 3 - Factors contributing to allegations of abuse, self-harm and neglect (PDF 425KB)

A damaging living environment
Lack of appropriate regulation
Uncertainty about the future
A lack of transparency, accountability and scrutiny
Investigating notifications of abuse and self-harm

Chapter 4 - Refugee Status Determination and Resettlement (PDF 246KB)

Refugee Status Determination
Third country resettlement negotiations
Resettlement other than by a resettlement agreement
Alternative proposals regarding resettlement

Chapter 5 - The management of expenses associated with offshore processing (PDF 254KB)

Offshore processing costs
The provision of aid to Nauru and PNG
Audit of the procurement of garrison support and welfare services
Audit of contract management
Concerns about obtaining information relating to costs
Future RPC and associated expenses

Chapter 6 - Obligations of the Commonwealth Government, and contractors, towards asylum seekers and refugees (PDF 185KB)

Evidence put to previous inquiries
The findings of previous committees in relation to Australia's obligations
Statements made by the department in relation to a duty of care
Current claims against the Commonwealth
Australia's ratification of the OPCAT
Obligations of the department pursuant to the Work Health and Safety Act 2011

Chapter 7 - Committee views and recommendations (PDF 279KB)

The provision of information to this inquiry
The allegations of abuse, self-harm and neglect
Factors contributing to this abuse, self-harm and neglect
Third country resettlement
Obligations of the Australian Government
Concluding comments

Dissenting Report from Government Senators (PDF 127KB)

The Committee Majority's Recommendations

Additional Comments by the Australian Greens (PDF 300KB)

Executive Summary
Health and the Lack of Adequate Medical Care
International Law
Work health and safety

Appendix 1 - Tabled documents, answers to questions on notice and additional information (PDF 98KB)

Public submissions
Additional information
Answers to questions on notice
Tabled documents

Appendix 2 - Public hearings and witnesses (PDF 70KB)

Committee Secretariat contact:

Committee Secretary
Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: +61 2 6277 3560

About this inquiry

On 12 September 2016, the Senate referred the following matters to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report by 30 March 2017:

The serious allegations of abuse, self-harm and neglect of asylum seekers in relation to the Nauru Regional Processing Centre, and any like allegations in relation to the Manus Regional Processing Centre, with particular reference to:

  1. the factors that have contributed to the abuse and self-harm alleged to have occurred,
  2. how notifications of abuse and self-harm are investigated,
  3. the obligations of the Commonwealth Government and contractors relating to the treatment of asylum seekers, including the provision of support, capability and capacity building to local Nauruan authorities,
  4. the provision of support services for asylum seekers who have been alleged or been found to have been subject to abuse, neglect or self-harm in the Centres or within the community while residing in Nauru,
  5. the role an independent children's advocate could play in ensuring the rights and interests of unaccompanied minors are protected,
  6. the effect of Part 6 of the Australian Border Force Act 2015,
  7. attempts by the Commonwealth Government to negotiate third country resettlement of asylum seekers and refugees,
  8. additional measures that could be implemented to expedite third country resettlement of asylum seekers and refugees within the Centres, and
  9. any other related matters; and

(2) the committee be granted access to all inquiry submissions and documents of the preceding committee relating to its inquiry into the conditions and treatment of asylum seekers and refugees at the regional processing centres in the Republic of Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

On 20 March2017, the Senate granted an extension of time for reporting until 21 April 2017.

Offshore processing in the Republic of Nauru and Papua New Guinea has been the subject of a number of Senate committee inquiries. In conducting this inquiry, the committee will have access to all documents submitted to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References inquiry during the 44th Parliament. This means that submissions already provided to the committee about this issue do not need to be re-submitted. The committee will also have access to all submissions published by other committees inquiring into related issues.

Submitters to a previous inquiry are welcome to make a further submission to this inquiry.

Should you wish to discuss any aspect of the terms of reference, or discuss making a submission please contact the committee secretariat.

  • Any person located anywhere in the world can make a submission to the committee in relation to this inquiry. However parliamentary privilege which operates to protect witnesses does not apply to people who are located outside of Australia.
  • Any person who makes a submission to the committee can request that the submission be received, wholly or in part, in confidence, meaning that it will not be made public, or that the submission be made public but with the name of the submitter withheld.
  • Any person wishing to make a submission to this committee, or make contact with this committee in relation to this inquiry who requires the use of an interpreter can contact the committee secretariat via the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) on 131 450. TIS National is a free service.

Past Public Hearings

20 Mar 2017: Canberra
15 Mar 2017: Canberra
14 Mar 2017: Brisbane