Asylum seekers self-harming to come to Australia, minister says

Some asylum seekers are harming themselves and making false allegations in order to come to Australia, the country's immigration minister said Thursday.

The minister, Peter Dutton, also dismissed Wednesday's leaked internal reports from an Australian-run detention centre on Nauru that revealed widespread abuse, particularly against children.

"Most of that’s been reported on before," Dutton said.

"I won’t tolerate any sexual abuse whatsoever," the minister told local 2GB radio on Thursday, adding he was aware of cases of "false allegations of sexual assaults because in the end people have paid money to people-smugglers and they want to come to our country."

"Some people have even gone to the extent of self-harming, and people have self-immolated in an effort to get to Australia, and certainly some have made false allegations in an attempt to get to Australia," Dutton said.

Green party Senator Sarah Hanson-Young called Dutton's comments "abhorrent."

"To attack a child for telling an adult - someone they should trust - that they've been abused is unthinkable," Hanson-Young said.

The Guardian Australia on Wednesday published a report documenting the abuse and trauma of asylum-seekers being held on Nauru after 2,000 incident reports from August 2013 to October 2015 were leaked.

Australia intercepts all migrants travelling by sea and either turns their boats back or processes their asylum claims offshore in places such as Papua New Guinea or on Nauru.

Last update: Thu, 11/08/2016 - 09:26
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