In October 2016 the newspaper the Guardian published an interactive database online with classified incident reports from an Australian overseas asylum seeker processing centre on the island republic of Nauru. The incident reports describe events that occurred within the Nauru Regional Processing Centre and this collection of over 2000 documents were given the name of Nauru Files”. By using Nick Haslam’s dehumanisation theory this thesis aimed to analyse the Nauru Files to find if the documents present evidence of animalistic and/or mechanistic dehumanisation. Upon reviewing the Nauru Files the author found four overacting themes; (1) deteriorating mental health for asylum seekers; (2) sexual assault, abusive behaviour and misbehaviour by staff, (3) incidents involving children and (4) misrepresentation of information. Furthermore, the evidence connected with these themes within the incident reports indicates dehumanisation, mainly mechanistic – meaning asylum seekers were deprived of aspects of humanness and were repeatedly treated as objects. Related to the Nauru Files a closer review of Australian immigration policies was conducted. The results show that the dehumanisation that is evident in the Nauru Files can be considered to be a product of Australia’s long history of systematic dehumanisation of asylum seekers from non-European countries.
SOURCE: Hanna K. Lundin. “Dehumanisation of asylum seekers: Case study of the Nauru Files” Uppsala University, May 2019.
Produced by the librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia