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Close Nauru detention centre now

Published: 8 April 2015

The Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) supports the call by its member Viktoria Vibhakar that all asylum seekers on Nauru be transferred to Australia. The call was made in the Open Letter to the Australian People and was discussed on ABC TV’s Lateline last night.

‘The Nauru experiment has proved a failure. No amount of tinkering round the edges, as suggested by Philip Moss in his Review, will make the detention centre a safe place for women and children’, said AASW President Professor Karen Healy.

Professor Healy further said ‘The social work professionals fulfilled their mandatory reporting responsibility on Nauru when they disclosed incidents of child abuse but the authorities’ response was totally inadequate.’

‘The Australian Government appears to have learnt little from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.’

‘If the Nauru facility had been on Australian soil, it would have been closed down months ago.’

‘We cannot continue to institutionally abuse children and use the rationale that it stops other desperate families getting on boats to come to Australia.’

Professor Healy added that there are regional solutions to this problem that include mature and professional diplomacy.

‘Both the government and the opposition need to invest time and effort to work towards developing these solutions to protect the safety of children.’

The AASW represents 8,400 professional social workers in Australia, many of whom specialise in, and work with refugees and asylum seekers, and in child protection.

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AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers