UN Refugee Agency 'gravely concerned' over allegations concerning Nauru detention camp

The Guardian has released thousands of incident reports from the controversial detention and processing centre

UN Refugee Agency 'gravely concerned' over allegations concerning Nauru detention camp

File photo. Image: Bebeto Matthews / AP/Press Association Images

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has said it is "gravely concerned" about allegations contained in thousands of leaked documents concerning an offshore Australian refugee camp.

Incident reports and documents concerning the detention and processing centre on the South Pacific island nation of Nauru have been published by The Guardian Australia.

The Australian government supports the Nauruan government in order to "provide for the health, welfare and safety of all transferees and refugees" at the facility.

The leaked documents detail hundreds of individual incidents and allegations between 2013 and 2015.

In 2014 alone, the documents include 155 reports of 'threatened self-harm' and 57 'assaults on a minor'.

The reported incidents range from 'minor' to 'critical' ones.

The Guardian says that more than half of the 2,116 reports involved children, despite children only accounting for around 18% of the people in detention during the period covered.

In a statement, the UNHCR said: "Although UNHCR is not able to verify the individual incidents raised by the reports, the documents released are broadly consistent with UNHCR’s longstanding and continuing concerns regarding mental health, as well as overall conditions for refugees and asylum-seekers on Nauru."

The organisation has also renewed its call "for refugees and asylum-seekers to be immediately moved off Nauru to humane conditions with adequate support and services".

The Australian government's immigration department says that "many of the incident reports reflect unconfirmed allegations or uncorroborated statements and claims - they are not statements of proven fact".

However, it adds that they are examining the published reports "to ensure all of these matters have been reported appropriately by service providers, consistent with the policies and procedures covering such matters".

Meanwhile, the charity Save the Children says many of the leaked documents involve reporting of incidents by their staff providing services to children at the centre.

The organisation's Australian Director of Policy and Public Affairs, Mat Tinkler, said: "While we are surprised to see our incident reporting in the media, we are not surprised about the contents. Again it reinforces what we and others have been saying in broader terms: that Nauru is no place for vulnerable children and continuing to leave them to languish there is doing significant harm.

“The Turnbull Government should not be surprised either. Save the Children has told the government through various channels of these incidents and the broader conditions and problems on Nauru over several years," he added.