HRW Submission on Nauru to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women – Human Rights Watch


Human Rights Watch has documented numerous women’s rights violations in Nauru…

This submission draws primarily on Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International’s joint research on Nauru.

Since September 2012, Australia has forcibly transferred families with children, unaccompanied children, and single men and women to Nauru under Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) and as part of the Australian government’s stated policy of deterring boat arrivals. Under the MOUs, Nauru agreed to host asylum seekers transferred to the island by Australia in detention facilities known as “Regional Processing Centres” (RPC).[3] These facilities are run by a private company hired by the Australian government, and the Australian government has effective control of the facility and is responsible for ensuring the health and welfare of the asylum seekers detained there.

Those transferred to Nauru initially spent a year or more housed in cramped vinyl tents in the RPC, with temperatures indoors regularly reaching 45 to 50 degrees Celsius (113 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit), and torrential rains and flooding.

Refugees and asylum seekers described conditions in these detention camps as “prison-like,” with regular searches of their tents by the guards, confiscation of “prohibited” items – including food and sewing needles – two-minute showers, and filthy toilets.

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. They also endure unnecessary delays and at times denial of medical care, even for life-threatening conditions. Many have dire mental health problems and suffer overwhelming despair – self-harm and suicide attempts are frequent. All refugees and asylum seekers face prolonged uncertainty about their future.

SOURCE: Human Rights Watch. “HRW Submission on Nauru to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.” Human Rights Watch, January 24, 2017.

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