22 Jul 2015

Mental deterioration "violent" at Nauru camp

7:55 pm on 22 July 2015

An Australian social worker falsely accused off making up stories about asylum seeker abuse and kicked off Nauru says the whole detention camp appears to be permeated with madness and depression.

Natasha Blucher was ordered off the island last October after then-immigration minister Scott Morrision said an intelligence report revealed Save the Children workers coached detainees to harm themselves and fabricate abuse stories.

An independent review later cleared the workers after finding no evidence.

Ms Blucher has now given evidence at a Canberra senate inquiry into what's been going at Nauru.

Thirty-three asylum seekers say they were raped or sexually assaulted, while a further five claim they've been asked for sexual favours in exchange for contraband.

Refugees protest on Nauru against offshore processing in defiance of a new law requiring 7 days notice of a protest.

Refugees on Nauru protesting on 7 April 2015 at Anibare camp against offshore processing in defiance of a new law that requires protesters to give seven days notice of any protest and gives the police commissioner sole power to allow a protest, or not. Photo: Supplied by Refugee Action Coalition

Ms Blucher said the conditions at Nauru are extremely difficult for detainees who are de-humanised and generally suffer violent deterioration of mental health.

"And when I talk about violent deterioration I refer to people collapsing and screaming, people going into states that seem to me to appear to be psychosis, people with incredibly frequent suicidal ideation; people unable to get out of bed, unable to move; you would walk around the camp and you would see people sitting outside their tents and just staring vacantly into nothing."

Natasha Blucher is looking at suing Immigration officials for their treatment of her.

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