Australia accuses immigrants of lying for asylum

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Canberra, Aug 11 (IANS) Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton on Thursday claimed that immigrants in detention centres in Nauru and Papua New Guinea often lodge false complaints to secure asylum in the country.

Dutton’s comments follow the release of over 2,000 reports detailing incidents of sexual violence and threats against women and of self-harm among immigrants detained at the Nauru detention centre, Efe news reported.

“I have been made aware of some incidents that have reported false allegations of sexual assault, 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,” the minister said.

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However, Dutton said the reports must be investigated by Nauru authorities.

The documents, released on Wednesday night by the Australian edition of The Guardian daily, detailed the abuse and trauma children and women face at the immigration detention centres maintained by Australia in the neighbouring Nauru.

The reports revealed several cases of sexual assault — especially against young women detainees — perpetrated by security guards, other detainees and local people.

Over a hundred reports, said the source, outline cases of self-harm among detainees, including several suicide attempts.

In 2012, Australia revived its policy of processing asylum applications from immigrants, who travelled to its shores, in third countries, and opened offshore detention centres in Papua New Guinea and Nauru.

Many of the immigrants Australia intercepts have fled conflict-ridden regions like Afghanistan, Darfur, Pakistan, Somalia and Syria, or have escaped conditions of discrimination such as the minority Rohingyas in Myanmar or the Biduns in the Persian Gulf.

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