October 28, 2014 | ABC News
A 16-year-old Afghan boy on Nauru says four locals beat him so badly he ended up in hospital over the weekend.
The boy sought asylum in Australia before being sent to the detention camp on Nauru.
He said he was recognised as a genuine refugee and has been living in the local community as an unaccompanied minor for the past month.
The teenager said he went for a swim with three other boys on Sunday and they were walking back home when they were attacked.
He said four local men turned up on motorbikes and started swearing at the boys before hitting them.
“They slapped me and kicked me and did the same thing to the rest of the boys and when we run away they threaten us to kill,” he said.
He said the attack was so violent the boys’ shirts were torn.
They tried to hide behind a rock but the boy said he blacked out before waking up in hospital.
“I do not know what happened to me. I blacked out and … I found myself in hospital,” he said.
The 16-year-old said there were 29 unaccompanied minors on Nauru who had been given refugee status and were living in the community.
He said he was not the only unaccompanied teenager who was beaten by locals at the weekend.
Another refugee teenager in alleged attack
The boy alleged another teenage boy, also a former asylum seeker, ended up in hospital after being beaten up at his house by five locals.
He said the other teenager was standing outside his house when a local asked the boy if he had a lighter.
The boy answered “no”, and the teenager said that was when the locals started to beat the former asylum seeker.
I was very scared and we left our country because it was hard and now we are living in a country where the local people are hurting us and threatening the kill us.16-year-old Afghan boy
“Five people started hitting the 16-year-old boy and then he was beaten and he came to the same hospital beside me,” he said.
The teenager said a local had visited him and told him the locals would just hit the boys but they would not kill them.
But the boy is not convinced – he is frightened that someone is going to kill one of the unaccompanied minors.
“Please do something. We are about to lose. Some of us, we have been targeted. We are pretty sure the next one will die,” he said.
The boys have sent the ABC photos of themselves in hospital beds, and other photos of them in ripped clothes with red marks on their bodies.
The 16-year-old said the boys were feeling so unsafe on Nauru they had stopped going to school.
“I was very scared and we left our country because it was hard and now we are living in a country where the local people are hurting us and threatening to kill us,” he said.
Incident wholly a matter for Nauru: Morrison
In a statement to the ABC, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said any attack on a person settled on Nauru was a matter for Nauru.
“People found to be refugees and settled on Nauru are no longer accommodated at the offshore processing centre,” he said.
“This incident is wholly a matter for Nauru.”
But the director of the Refugee and Immigration Legal Centre, David Manne, disagreed.
He said Australia had a legal and moral obligation to protect refugees.
“I don’t want to speculate on precisely what has occurred, but these are very serious and disturbing allegations and they must be fully and properly investigated by independent bodies and authorities,” he said.
“If any offences have been committed, those responsible must be brought to justice. They must face the full force of the law.
“But if people who seek protection here in Australia are subject to these sorts of conditions in another country, Australia retains fundamental legal and moral responsibility for the welfare and the fate of refugees who sought out protection and were sent, against their will, to Nauru.”
In a statement, the Nauru government said it could confirm what it described as “a general police incident” on the island at the weekend:
We can confirm there was a general police incident on the island over the weekend, and it was handled as per usual police procedures.
Sadly, incidents of crime occur on Nauru sometimes, just as they do in Australia, and our police force works hard to ensure perpetrators are prosecuted.
We can confirm that all refugees who live within the Nauruan community are safe, and we continue to work with refugees to assist them to assimilate and to find employment.
It should be noted that refugees have the freedom to travel anywhere on the island and that Nauru is a safe environment for them.