23 Aug 2016

Australian teacher defies law with Nauru comment

3:31 pm on 23 August 2016

Another Australian worker has spoken publicly about conditions at Canberra's detention facilities in Nauru in defiance of Australian law.

Participants hold a candle light vigil in May 2016 for asylum seekers who set themselves on fire on Nauru.

Participants hold a candle light vigil in May 2016 for asylum seekers who set themselves on fire on Nauru. Photo: AFP

Earlier this month thousands of incident reports about alleged abuse in Nauru were leaked to The Guardian sparking a renewed debate in Australia about its asylum seeker and refugee camps abroad.

Seven reports of sexual assault of children, 59 reports of assault on children, 30 of self-harm involving children and 159 of threatened self-harm involving children were contained in the leaked files.

Protest on Nauru

Protest on Nauru Photo: supplied Refugee Action Coalition

Via a videolink, teacher, Tracey Donohue, told ABC TV of assaults she witnessed, but disclosing the information means she has risked two years in prison for violating the Border Force Act.

"I witnessed death threats made to my students by local guards. I witnessed a very large guard lift and throw a student with force into the ground and a metal rail," she said.

Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at a recent press conference in Sydney.

Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull Photo: SAEED KHAN / AFP

In January, an Australian doctor, Professor David Isaacs, challenged Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to prosecute him for speaking out about the health of children kept in detention on Nauru.

Last week the Australian government agreed with the Papua New Guinea government to close its offshore processing centre on Manus Island amidst repeated calls from human rights agencies for the government to close all its detention-centres.

Australia's immigration minister Peter Dutton has dismissed reports of abuse on Nauru as "hype" while Mr Turnbull has said asylum seekers would not be resettled in Australia.

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