28 Jun 2002

Australian Defence Force denies claims of abuse towards asylum seekers on Nauru

11:03 am on 28 June 2002

The Australian Defence Force has dismissed allegations by an activist that troops abused asylum seekers during their transportation by naval ships to Nauru.

Australian Kate Durham says asylum seekers told her in Nauru that they were beaten, abused and starved by defence force personnel on the HMAS Toobruk.

She alleges that the ADF gave children food laced with chilli to get them off the ship in Nauru.

A spokesperson for the Australian Defence Force says the navy rejects the claims.

"Any assertion that asylum seekers have been mistreated while in the care of the RAN is totally rejected by Defence. On the contrary, it has been well documented that navy personnel have, on a number of occassions, put themselves at risk in the interest of asylum seekers. They have performed outstandingly in often difficult and hazardous circumstances."

An Australian Defence Force spokesperson.

Kate Durham has called for a commission of Inquiry into her claims.