27 Feb 2017

Lawyer welcomes Royal Commission's look at Nauru

9:41 am on 27 February 2017

An Australian human rights lawyer is welcoming the announcement that a Royal Commission will hold limited hearings into the sexual abuse of children detained on Nauru.

The 25 square kilometres of land which is Nauru, was devastated by phosphate mining which once made the Micronesian Nauruans the second wealthiest people per capita on earth.

The 25 square kilometres of land which is Nauru. Photo: AFP

The Australian-run detention centre on Nauru has been mired with allegations of child abuse and mental health issues.

But until now, the Royal Commission, which was set up to investigate how institutions in Australia have responded to child sexual abuse, has said it doesn't have the power to look at offshore detention centres.

But Hugh de Kretser, from the Human Rights Law Centre, said his organisation released advice saying it did have the power to examine the response of the Australian government and its contractors.

Mr de Kretser said the commission would now examine the government's response to the recommendations of a child protection panel into abuse in immigration detention.

"It's some scrutiny, but it's limited. It won't be going to individual cases, it won't be calling witnesses in terms of people who are survivors or their families, but it will be looking at what the government's done."

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