24 Jul 2013

Salvation Army staffer says Nauru riot inevitable

2:59 pm on 24 July 2013

A group of current and former Salvation Army staff say last Friday's riot at the Australian-run detention camp in Nauru was inevitable.

Mark Isaacs, who spent nine months at the camp, is the spokesperson for the group of more than 30 workers.

He says while the riot was shocking, it was caused by Australia's cruel and degrading policy of sending asylum seekers to Nauru to assess their claims for refugee status.

Mr Isaacs says the intolerable conditions in Nauru have compounded the psychological trauma the asylum seekers had suffered in their home countries.

He says the latest incident was not borne out of malice but a build-up of pressure and anxiety over the past ten months.

"When you continue to keep these men in these conditions and not give them any notion of when they will leave or what will happen to them when they leave, we believe that this kind of incident, although on this grander scale, or probably horrible scale, we obviously couldn't predict, but we believe a tragedy of this magnitude was inevitable."

Mark Isaacs of the Salvation Army in Australia