Self harm crisis at Australia’s detention centres

Self harm incidents at record high in Australia’s detention centres, reports of suicide attempts such as stuffing tea bag down throat

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

A protester holds a placard during a rally in support of refugees in central Sydney, Australia, October 19, 2015

Self harm incidents occur once every two days on average in Australia’s offshore detention centres, reported on Saturday, with prospective refugees attempting suicide, cutting themselves or swallowing poison.
There were 188 self-harm incidents involving asylum seekers in Nauru in a 12 month period to July 2015, with 55 on Manus island, according to a Fairfax Media Report using Immigration Department logs obtained through Freedom of Information laws. 706 self harm cases were reported in the onshore detention network alone.
Asylum seekers that attempt to arrive by boat are sent to the Pacific islands of Papua New Guinea and Nauru for processing, under Canberra’s hardline immigration policy and are barred from being resettled in Australia even if found to be refugees.
A recent United Nations report has stated that the Australian Government has violated the right of asylum seekers to be free from torture or cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment “by failing to provide adequate detention conditions.”
Some of the incidents reported included asylum-seekers attempting to hang themselves with bedsheets, stuffing tea bags down their throats and in one case, a woman who “poured boiling water over her lower limbs.”
Amnesty International’s report on conditions in the Manus centre found that living quarters were greatly overcrowded with up to 112 men housed in a single dormitory, having a serious lack of drinking water.
The Asylum Seekers Resource Centre (ASRC) stated that the cost of maintaining the Manus Island detention centre is vastly more expensive than it would be to process asylum seekers in Australia.
ASRC reports that there are 1509 children in detention as of March 2015.
TRTWorld and agencies