In the wake of reports of abuse of children and women in Nauru Island near Australia, the country's Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has responded to the allegations and claimed that many of them were falsified and based on "hype". The minister stated that in some incidents, people were self-harming and then filing cases in a bid to get entry into Australia from the offshore immigration detention centre.
"Most of that's been reported on before," Dutton said about the release of the Nauru files by The Guardian which shed light on sexual assault and child abuse.
"I won't tolerate any sexual abuse whatsoever. But I have been made aware of some incidents that have been 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."
While human rights and refugee advocacy groups have pointed out that the leaked reports are proof enough that the detention system in Nauru is failing, the minister stressed on the fact that self-harm is simply a desperate measure being used for access to the mainland.
"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 explained.
On 10 August, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull rejected calls for a royal commission to investigate the issues on the detention island and instead stated that the information made public through the leak will be assessed and the claims vetted. "It will be carefully examined to see if there are complaints there or issues there that were not properly addressed," the PM said.