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UN says "gravely concerned" by Nauru abuse reports

| Updated: Aug 10, 2016 18:39 IST

London, Aug. 10 (ANI): Voicing concern over the leaked reports revealing widespread abuse and trauma among children and women at Australia's offshore detention centre for asylum seekers on the Pacific island of Nauru, the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, has said it is "gravely concerned by the reports". "Although UNHCR is not able to verify the individual incidents raised by the reports, the documents released are broadly consistent with UNHCR's longstanding and continuing concerns regarding mental health, as well as overall conditions for refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru," it said in a statement. UNHCR has observed and reported a progressive deterioration in the situation of refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru through its regular visits since 2012, reports the Guardian. Meanwhile, a number of former Save the Children workers from the Nauru Regional Processing Centre (RPC) including, case managers, social workers, child protection specialists, teachers, and adult, child and youth recreation workers, called for the closure of the RPC and the immediate transfer of all asylum seekers and refugees on Nauru to Australia. Another advocacy group ChilOut campaigning against children in immigration detention, has also expressed concern for the 49 children believed to still be on Nauru in immigration detention. "These most vulnerable children have been placed in singularly dangerous and shameful environments in Nauru. Australia needs to stop this systematic and institutionalised abuse of children," said ChilOut's campaign coordinator and human rights lawyer, Niru Palanivel. The Australia Government outsources the processing of asylum seekers who arrive in the country by boat to two privately run facilities one on Nauru and another on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. This was done to stop the influx as the number of asylum seekers travelling to Australia by boat rose sharply in 2012 and early 2013. (ANI)