Poverty in New GuineaThe island of New Guinea is immense, being the world’s second-largest island over 300,000 square miles in size. Additionally, it has nearly 15 million people divided between the independent country of Papua New Guinea and the two Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua. Poverty in New Guinea is a pressing issue in all three of these political regions of the island.

History of Indonesian New Guinea

The provinces of West Papua and Papua joined Indonesia following a vote in which elders voted in front of occupying Indonesian troops in 1969. The western half of the island became one province. In 2003 it became split into West Papua and Papua.

Poverty Rates

This lack of local control is an essential component of poverty in New Guinea as the populace of the western half of the island lacks political control of their vast natural resources. Papua and West Papua are the poorest regions of Indonesia. These two provinces are incredibly rich in mineral and timber resources. Despite billions of dollars of resource extraction a year, these resources have not helped the local populace as more than a quarter of the population is in poverty.

Much like Indonesian New Guinea, Papua New Guinea has a wealth of natural resources. Despite these resources 37% of the population lives in poverty. This has occurred as unfortunately, the country’s immense natural resources have not been used to substantially improve the standard of living in the country.

Child Poverty in New Guinea

In Papua New Guinea, illiteracy remains prevalent and rural areas have less access to schools as less than 50% of rural children attend school. Child hunger is another component of poverty in the country. Evidence shows that many children in Papua New Guinea are malnourished, and 43% suffer a delay in growth due to insufficient food.

Poverty in New Guinea also heavily impacts children in Indonesian New Guinea. Child hunger rates are very high in Papua, as about 40% of children have stunted growth due to malnutrition. The province has made improvements in terms of schooling, but nearly 40% of children do not attend school.

In West Papua, about 45% of children have stunted growth due to malnutrition. However, the overwhelming majority of children do attend school, with only 12% not attending. This is the highest rate of school participation on the island between the three political areas.

Healthcare in New Guinea

In the Indonesian Papua, healthcare is far from ideal. There are very few medical personnel in Papua to serve the population as “some Papuan districts have less than one doctor and five nurses per 10,000 people.” Additionally, health clinics are typically under supported in the province. Healthcare access became further complicated because much of the population live in remote regions that are difficult to access.

The impact of healthcare on poverty in New Guinea is felt in neighboring Papua New Guinea. There is a very similar level shortage of medical personnel in Papua New Guinea as in Indonesian Papua. There are “0.5 physicians per 10,000 population and 5.3 nurses per 10,000 population.” The lack of medical personnel in Papua New Guinea became further complicated by “low wages and poor physical infrastructure.”

Poverty in New Guinea is an important issue that faces the entire island despite being separated into different political regions. Poverty rates remain high across the island despite the natural resource wealth of the island. Child malnutrition, lack of school attendance and healthcare access impact Papua, West Papua and Papua New Guinea.

– Coulter Layden
Photo: Wikimedia

Women’s Rights in Papua New GuineaAlthough Papua New Guinea is a resource-rich area, almost 40% of its population lives in poverty. For women, Papua New Guinea is a dangerous place to live as the country is plagued by gendered violence and inequality and women’s rights are unprotected.

Women’s Rights in Papua New Guinea

Although the Papua New Guinea Constitution technically renders men and women equal, the traditional customs of the country and the patriarchal values that come with the vastly rural community make it difficult for this to actually implement itself within the country. Women’s rights in Papua New Guinea are shunted on a legislative and social level. In fact, not a single woman in Papua New Guinea is a member of Parliament. Moreover, women are not given the opportunity to be in positions of power due to a lack of access to education. In Papua New Guinea, only 18% of girls are enrolled in secondary school.

Gender-Based Violence in Papua New Guinea

Women in Papua New Guinea are subject to male domination and violence. It is estimated that Papua New Guinea has one of the highest rates of gender violence in the world, for a country that is not a conflict zone. Moreover, the ruralness of Papua New Guinea leads to a lack of infrastructure and community programs to deter violence and provide sanctuary to women and girls who have experienced domestic violence. Women are often forced to return to their abusers due to the lack of these types of systems.

In 2015, Doctors Without Borders completed its Return to Abuser report in Papua New Guinea. Of the patients treated, 94% were female, with the most common form of violence being at the hands of domestic partners. From 2007 to 2015, Doctors Without Borders treated nearly 28,000 survivors of family and sexual violence in Papua New Guinea. Doctors Without Borders shared that this abuse cycle continues because women and children lack the proper resources to leave their abusers, as many of them are dependant on the abuser and the abuse happens at home.

Intimate Partner Violence

In a United Nations multi-country study about Asia and the Pacific, researchers discovered alarming statistics about the pervasiveness of intimate partner violence. In Papua New Guinea, 80% of male participants self-reported perpetrating physical and/or sexual violence against their partner in their lifetime. Additionally, 83% of male participants also reported having committed emotionally abusive acts against their female partners in their lifetime. Sexual violence in Papua New Guinea is an epidemic too. In the same study, 62% of males also reported that they had perpetrated some form of rape against a woman or girl in their lifetime.

Pro Bono Australia

Despite these statistics, women in Papua New Guinea are supported by female-focused programs, such as Pro Bono Australia. Pro Bono Australia is working to aid women in Papua New Guinea to learn more about business and communication. Up to 85% of women in Papua New Guinea make their livelihoods off of the informal economy, through selling goods and services at markets. Through Pro Bono Australia, more than 600 market and street traders in Papua New Guinea who are mostly women, are members of the provincial vendors association. Through this association, vendors educate themselves about the Papua New Guinea market and the Constitution. Moreover, they now can communicate with governmental leaders and local leaders about the status of the informal economy. From this communication, these women have also been able to communicate with their leaders about other issues within their communities. As a result of this program, the provincial vendors association has begun to petition the government for better sanitation, safe spaces, better shelter and reliable water.

The Future for Women in Papua New Guinea

The communication between a coalition of mostly females and the governmental structure of Papua New Guinea will give voices to those who have been voiceless, bring attention to the status of women within society and hopefully make strides towards resolving issues such as gender-based violence and women’s rights in general. As a result of this measure, there is hope that women’s rights in Papua New Guinea will continue to improve and that the resources for gender-based violence will expand.

– Caitlin Calfo
Photo: Flickr

Technology to promote literacy

Papua New Guinea (PNG) is an independent state comprised of about 600 small islands, that also shares a land border with Indonesia. PNG uses technology to promote literacy in a number of ways. PNG broke off from Australia in 1975 but still receives substantial economic, geographical and educational gains from the country. However, the Australian government reports that in spite of their economic growth and middle-income country status (due to agricultural and mineral wealth), “PNG’s social indicators are among the worst in the Asia Pacific. Approximately 85 percent of PNG’s mainly rural population is poor and an estimated 18 percent of people are extremely poor.”

The World Bank details that PNG also faces a “vexing” situation regarding their remoteness and number of languages. Communities in PNG are very closed off from one another and land travel is strenuous. PNG has 563 airports and air travel has proven to be the common way to get from one place to another. At over 800 languages, PNG is recognized as “the most linguistically diverse country in the world.” As a result of these two factors, PNG’s education system faces a variety of challenges. PNG was ranked 153 on the Human Development Index in 2017, and its adult literacy rate was reported to be 63.4 percent in 2015. Australian Aid and the Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) cooperated to produce The SMS Story research project, a way to use technology to promote literacy.

The goal of the SMS Story Research Project was to ascertain whether daily text message stories and lessons would improve the reading ability of children in grades 1 and 2 in Papua New Guinea. The text messages were sent to elementary school teachers in the Madang Province and Simbu Province using a free, open-source software program called Frontline SMS. The project was a controlled trial with two groups, one group of teachers received the message and the other did not. About 2500 students were evaluated before and after the trial. Using statistical testing, it was determined that the reading ability of the group who received text messages was higher than that of the group that did not.

It was found that the schools participating in the study had little to no reading books in the classroom and that students in groups without an SMS story were “twice as likely to be unable to read a single word of three sub-tests (decodable words, sight words and oral reading).” It seemed that many classrooms in PNG did not provide easy access to reading materials or proper reading lessons.

Amanda Watson, a researcher involved with the project stated that the SMS stories were helpful to the teachers as well. She says, “The teachers actually received almost like a reminder to teach, a bit of a motivator to keep teaching and they received that every single day and we think that really helped them to realize that they’re supposed to be teaching reading every single day, five days a week.” This suggests that before the trial, some of the teachers may not have promoted reading as much as they should have, either due to lack of access to materials or not realizing its importance.

Daniel A. Wagner, of the University of Pennsylvania and his colleagues, detail the importance of using technology to promote literacy in countries with minimal access to education or educational materials in their paper, “Mobiles for Literacy in Developing Countries: An Effectiveness Framework”. He underlines the importance of promoting literacy through information and communications technologies (ICTs) in today’s world where there are “more connected mobile devices than people” and provides several examples of organizations that are working towards increasing literacy through ICTs.

The Bridges to the Future Initiative (BFI) is run in South Africa by the Molteno Institute for Language and Literacy. They aim to “improve literacy through interactive, computer-based lessons” created by the University of Pennsylvania’s International Literacy Institute (ILI). They provide access to educational materials and issue students with “mother-tongue resources” in regions where computer sources or books are mostly in English. Comparably, Ustad Mobile is an application in Afghanistan that runs offline on phones. They center around instructing reading comprehension, listening, and numeracy. Teachers and students can download and share lessons; the app also includes exercises, videos and interactive quizzes in order to “mobilize education for all”.

BBC Janala is another project using technology to promote literacy in Bangladesh. It is a multi-platform service and can be accessed through TV, internet, print and mobile phones. BBC Janala concentrates on teaching English through three-minute audio lessons, quizzes, TV shows, newspapers, textbooks and CDs.

Illiteracy is an issue in Papua New Guinea; most likely due to the lack of reading materials and importance placed on literacy. However projects like, “The SMS Story” are all over the world and are working towards using technology to promote literacy one step at a time.

Jade Thompson
Photo: Flickr

Human Rights in Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea (PNG) is a small country in Oceania, just north of Australia. While PNG has enjoyed the benefits of economic improvement due to extractive industries, more than 40 percent of its population of six million live in poverty. Across government corruption, abuse of female rights, inhumane conditions for asylum seekers, police brutality, lack of minority rights and prosecution for sexual orientation and gender identity, the state of human rights in Papua New Guinea is severely lacking.

Police abuse is rampant in PNG, and, between 2007 and 2014, a total of 1,600 complaints regarding police brutality were logged by the Internal Affairs Directorate. The government has yet to release how many of these cases resulted in judicial proceedings. Since 2014, the Anti-Corruption Directorate has held a warrant for the arrest of Prime Minister O’Neill, but in April 2016 the Supreme Court dismissed the suit. As a direct result, in June 2016, police forces shot at University of Papua New Guinea students for peacefully protesting government corruption. Over thirty people were injured.

The United Nations has not overlooked such violations of human rights in Papua New Guinea. In May 2016, the United Nations Human Rights Council released a 687-page World Report. The report was critical of PNG’s government and its authoritarian actions.

Police aggression and abuse have also reportedly been highly gendered, with PNG remaining one of the worst in the world for its rates of family and sexual violence. A study conducted by The Lancet in 2013 reported that 41 percent of people on Bougainville Island admitted to raping a non-partner. This statistic neither includes other parts of PNG nor accounts for marital rape. The normalization of these actions has prevented aggressive prosecution of perpetrators or prosecution of these men by police and judiciaries. In fact, the Human Rights Watch notes that police demand “fuel money” from victims before considering their cases any further.

The government has failed to rally legislative or judicial action against gender-based corruption and coercion, and much of it is deeply ingrained in the different cultures of PNG. Historically, violent groups of people have attacked individuals and families for alleged acts of witchcraft. The normalization of severely violating human rights in Papua New Guinea requires serious action but proves difficult because of cultural complexities.

Undoubtedly, there is no simple solution in breaking cultural and national norms. The nuanced approach towards fighting against governmental corruption and gender-based violence, among many other human rights issues, requires federal and community-level strategies.

Sydney Nam

Photo: Flickr

Common Diseases in Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea is an island nation situated in the Pacific, north of Australia. As of 2010, 88 percent of the roughly eight million people living in Papua New Guinea live in rural areas. Despite the country’s plentiful natural resources, many people lack access to basic services such as roads, electricity and healthcare.

Because of the alarming scarcity of resources and support, the most common diseases in Papua New Guinea can disproportionately harm the country’s incredibly diverse populace.

Without access to basic infrastructure, many people in Papua New Guinea do not have access to clean food or water. This puts people at risk of contracting diseases such as diarrhea, typhoid or cholera. Additionally, parasitic insects native to Papua New Guinea’s tropical climate can spread malaria and Japanese encephalitis, a disease which can cause fever, vomiting, brain swelling or even death.

These common diseases in Papua New Guinea are preventable and treatable with adequate vaccinations, medicine and access to clean food and water. Unfortunately, the almost entirely rural population of Papua New Guinea does not have access to any of these measures.

In addition to these diseases, Papua New Guinea struggles with an ongoing epidemic of HIV/AIDS. The Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) is currently working with other U.S. agencies to provide advice and technical support to Papua New Guinea to help manage this outbreak.

Furthermore, Papua New Guinea has experienced an outbreak of the Zika virus, a disease which can cause birth defects. Like malaria, this serious ailment is spread by mosquitoes. The World Health Organization (WHO) has been monitoring the situation in Papua New Guinea and ensuring that the virus does not become a larger threat to surrounding regions since March of 2016.

Overall, common diseases in Papua New Guinea are generally basic, preventable and treatable diseases that are common in other lower-middle and low-income countries around the world. However, the significant lack of development and infrastructure, as well as the country’s primarily rural population, make it difficult to manage these diseases. Worse still, diseases such as HIV/AIDS and the Zika virus also have a major impact on the country.

In order for Papua New Guinea to more effectively fight disease, the country needs to build up its infrastructure and services. If Papua New Guinea can receive strong international support in growing its economy, it may be able to develop the infrastructure and provisions it needs to save lives.

Isidro Rafael Santa Maria

Photo: Flickr

Papua New Guinea's Poverty RatePapua New Guinea is located just north of Australia. Approximately 39.9 percent of the population lives below the national poverty line. Papua New Guinea is considered to be one of the poorest countries in the Pacific. Rural poverty is especially prevalent, causing agriculture to suffer. The run-down health system exemplifies years of a less-than-successful governmental approach. Papua New Guinea’s poverty rate can be largely attributed to a lack of knowledge of effective farming methods and an uncommitted government.

Most of the citizens in Papua New Guinea rely on small-scale agriculture for their livelihoods. Around 75 percent of natives practice subsistence farming. Coffee production is one of the country’s main sources of revenue, and thus, when this cash crop fails to produce, the regional economy suffers. Productivity has been low because farmers lack sufficient training in techniques, and yields are averaging 30 to 50 percent of their potential. The same thing is happening with the country’s cocoa production.

The health system in Papua New Guinea is deteriorating quickly. Often times medical facilities will not have enough staff or resources to help sick citizens at a successful rate, especially in rural areas. Everything depends on supply, vaccines, surgical instruments, staff, pain management drugs and a suitable treatment area. Studies have found that only 36 percent of facilities have running water year-round, 29 percent did not have clinical supervision and 13 percent were deemed unsanitary.

Papua New Guinea’s poverty rate stems from sick citizens. When there is a health crisis in a country, foreign aid is taken from other necessary means to give towards helping the sick, which means there is no development out of poverty. Sick people prolong poverty because they are unable to contribute to the labor force. For the country of Papua New Guinea to advance successfully, its health care system must develop.

The problems afflicting citizens of Papua New Guinea are reversible. More effective farming methods and a sufficient health system are entirely achievable if the government proceeds with a committed approach.

Lucy Voegeli

Photo: Flickr

Tuberculosis InfectionEvery year, 30,000 individuals in Papua New Guinea are newly infected with tuberculosis. Tuberculosis is an airborne infection that causes the bacteria mycobacterium tuberculosis to develop into a disease that destroys organ tissue most commonly in the lungs. It can be fatal if left untreated. From those 30,000, one out of four are diagnosed; one out of five receive treatment; and less than half get successfully treated. If left untreated, one person can infect 10 to 15 people every year.

Increasing incidences due to minimal health care, poor housing and nutrition have contributed to poverty, overcrowding and people failing to complete their treatment. In fact only 50 percent of individuals have access to adequate healthcare. Children face the greatest risk of contracting disabling forms of tuberculosis. Unfortunately, 10 percent of children die from tuberculosis.

Papua New Guinea’s island of Daru has the highest rate of tuberculosis infection in the world. Out of 150,000 people on the island, 160 get infected with drug-resistant tuberculosis as of January 2016. The rise of two aggressive strains of tuberculosis are a result of recent developments of antibiotic resistance.

This resistance stems from multidrug resistant and extensively drug resistant tuberculosis. To treat tuberculosis infection, a daily regimen of injections, oral medication and supervised medical care of anywhere between six to 24 months is recommended.

With funding from the United States Agency for International Development and the National Department of Health, FHI360 is hosting a series training courses for doctors to introduce Bedaquiline. Janssen Pharmaceuticals developed Bedaquiline, the first new class of antibiotics approved by the United States Food and Drug Association in more than 40 years.

By utilizing pharmacovigilance—the science of early detection and adverse effects—Bedaquiline is slowly being introduced to practitioners and their patients. In fact, 85 courses of Bedaquiline have already been distributed to Daru hospital.

Tiffany Santos
Photo: Flickr

In 2012, Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill introduced the Tuition Fee-Free (TFF) policy aimed at eliminating tuition for elementary to grade 12. The policy which put into action the government’s Universal Basic Education Plan 2010-2019, is PNG’s fourth and longest-lasting attempt to provide free education in Papua New Guinea.

According to 2012 statistics, an estimated two million youths and adults, which accounts for about one-third of the population were out of school and unemployed. According to PNG’s education minister, an estimated 10 percent of school-aged children do not even get a chance to enroll and 50 percent of those who do drop out of school before reaching the sixth grade. The country’s net enrollment rate of 63 percent is the lowest in the Asia-Pacific region.

While PNG’s Universal Primary Education started as a British Colonial policy, access to primary schools was expanded under the Australian administration. However, the policy favored only a select few students and those selected were males. It was not until 1981, six years after independence, that PNG started its TFF policy to attract more attention. The program was met with a lot of resistance from the newly formed provinces who considered it an act of the government taking over their newly granted authority.

After four failed attempts at providing free education in Papua New Guinea, many believe that the policy is a part of the government’s political agenda to get re-elected. The policy is aimed at pleasing parents and persuading the public that the policy is the solution to easing parent’s burden in paying school fees. However, in a country, which ranks 136 out of 165 in corruption, it is not a surprise that huge amounts of funding meant for education went into the wrong hands resulting in ghost schools, ghost teachers and ghost management. Many schools are still forced to charge fees as the government fails to send its checks on time.

Hasty and, in most cases, a complete lack of implementation has been considered some of the reasons for the policy’s failure. Though government funding is mostly focused on fee elimination, it does little to eliminate the problem of classroom sizes. In many schools, students have been sent home due to lack of space. Infrastructure is another issue. Most schools have poor infrastructure with no plans in place for upgrading them to allow for more student intake.

However, all is not lost. UNICEF’s education programs are providing the much-needed support to improve education in Papua New Guinea. In collaboration with the government, UNICEF is building a case for girl’s education by reviving the Accelerating Girl’s Education Steering Committee and working with schools to promote a healthy environment for students. UNICEF is also working with the Department of Education to ensure that Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) is appropriately addressed. UNICEF is partnering with various government departments to develop early childhood development indicators and curricula for pre-schools and Elementary teacher training colleges, a revision of ECCD Policy and ensure engagement with civil society partners.

UNICEF is also working with the Department of Education to ensure that Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) is appropriately addressed. UNICEF is partnering with various government departments to develop early childhood development indicators and curricula for pre-schools and Elementary teacher training colleges, a revision of ECCD Policy and ensure engagement with civil society partners.

With Papua New Guinea currently in the midst of its election season, it is now up to the people to elect a government that will provide access and quality education of which the country is in dire need.

Jagriti Misra

Photo: Flickr

El Nino And The Hunger In Papua New Guinea
Since the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon in mid-2015, Papua New Guinea (PNG) has been struggling through frost, drought and widespread food and water shortages. The ENSO — a period of unpredictable fluctuations in temperatures and currents of the wind and sea — disrupted food production and ruined the livelihoods of the many who live there. Food prices had already sharply increased by the end of 2015. The limited availability of food supplies in the markets makes for an even higher risk of starvation and suffering, in addition to the regular problem of hunger in Papua New Guinea.

As one of the poorest countries in Asia, PNG has 37 percent of its population living below the poverty line. Diseases like malaria are taking an increased toll. People are already weakened by the hunger in PNG, making it difficult to fight off sickness. The weather phenomenon also devastated the crops last year due to frost and drought, leaving farmers with nothing to eat.

According to the World Food Programme, as many as 700,000 people in PNG are in need of food assistance. Hunger in Papua New Guinea has also been overlooked, as the government has not issued any requests for assistance or declarations of emergency, even though staples like sweet potatoes were destroyed by low rainfall throughout 2015. Frosts from July through October continued to damage crops the following year. In October, there were several local villagers who said they walked through red dust– something that is unseen in the area.

Although the government began investigating reports of deaths, especially due to hunger, many badly affected communities have yet to receive aid. The slow response is due to the fact that PNG has a rugged terrain. Many villages and communities are only accessible by a multi-day trek from the next town over, or by aircraft that is flown by a pilot trained to land on small strips in the middle of the jungle.

Several World Food Programme groups have been offering food aid since the ENSO hit in 2015. With the world working together as a whole, charity organizations have raised enough money and helped grow enough food to feed more than one million people in PNG. At this rate, PNG is expected to be out of its ENSO drought by 2020 and back to standard living rates, although those are well under the national poverty lines as well.

PNG’s villagers are starting to witness more green fields, running children, happy families and liveliness being restored into the country. They will soon be back to where they were, fighting the usual hunger in Papua New Guinea, and pushing for better lifestyles.

Rilee Pickle

Photo: Flickr

 Nauru Refugees
Here are 10 facts about Nauru refugees:

  1.  Nauru refugees are not in Nauru by choice. Nauru refugees originally sought refuge in Australia. However, Australia was unwilling to provide them with care and forced 1,200 asylum seekers into a detainment center in Nauru. Nauru is only eight square miles, no larger than an international airport and already has a population of 10,000 people.
  2. The native Nauruans do not want the Nauru refugees there. The Nauru refugees are targeted by locals. Physical assaults against refugees happen regularly. What little property the Nauru refugees have is frequently broken or vandalized. Even refugee children are subject to these torments, making it difficult for them to concentrate or attend school.
  3. There are no legal services for the Nauru refugees. None of the Nauru refugees will become residents of either Nauru or Australia. The Nauru refugees are seeking refuge in fear of persecution in their home countries. However, the travel documents they have been issued confine them to Nauru for five years.
  4. The Nauru refugee crisis is being covered up. Nauru has banned foreign journalists in order to hide the poor treatment of refugees. The Australian government passed a law making it illegal for any employees, former or current, to disclose information on the conditions of the refugees. Despite these efforts, reporters find ways to interview refugees and former workers continue to come forward with their experiences.
  5. Nauru refugees came in search of liberty, only to become victims. Ali and his wife Khorvas are just one example of many. They left Iran because they believed in democracy. They sought to find a place where they would not be denied their human rights, but they only traded one confinement for another.
  6. The conditions the Nauru refugees live in do not meet U.N. standards. The tents each house 14 refugees and cannot weather the elements. Rain seeps in, heat and humidity are intensified, mold festers and pests easily infiltrate. The water supply is insufficient, resulting in dehydration or the consumption of unsanitary water. Waste management is not secure, allowing for cross-contamination.
  7. Sexual predators target Nauru refugee camps. Hawo, a Somalian, left her home country because of violence and sexual abuse towards women. Unfortunately, sexual exploitation of refugees is widespread. Men, including guards, force themselves onto women or expect them to barter sex for necessities. Reports of these incidents are not taken seriously.
  8. Health care for refugees is minimal. The Nauru hospital is small and lacks basic supplies. The majority of cases must be treated through abrupt transfers to Australia. The majority of medical transfers are due to mental health issues. Many refugees have been promised treatment that never comes. There is no screening of communicable diseases and no pediatric care in Nauru. Roughly 50 percent of the child refugees have latent tuberculosis. Immunization courses are never fully completed.
  9. Child refugees in Nauru are most at risk physically and mentally. There are no safety precautions set forth for children. Within the 2000 leaked records of reported abuse, there are records of sexually abused children, 59 physical assaults on children, 30 instances where a child has self-inflicted harm and 159 accounts of children threatening to self-harm.
  10. Many of the refugees have turned to suicide or self-inflicted harm. Refugees have taken to hunger strikes in hopes to improve their living situations. Omid Masoumali’s death was caught on cellphone video. Masoumali lit himself on fire, in protest to the conditions in where he was held. Benjamin, a 19-year-old who cut his wrists, said the Nauru refugees are a people living without hope.

Although no word has been given to close the Nauru Detainment Center, the second Australian Refugee Detention Center on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea, is closing operations.

The Australian Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional in April 2016. Recently, counselors from Save the Children, a nonprofit previously working on Nauru, bravely reported many of the abuses they witnessed but were bound by confidentiality not to reveal this.

In light of these revelations, it is hoped that the Nauru Detainment Center will also close, allowing the Nauru refugees to receive quality aid elsewhere.

Amy Whitman

Photo: Flickr