Child refugees on Nauru have appeared in another heartbreaking video from the detention camp, claiming they are being held as "hostages" by the Australian government and alleging bullying and abuse by Nauruan people.
The video -- titled "Message from numbers of refugee's children to Malcolm Turnbull: We are not your hostage for political reasons" -- was shot on Wednesday on Nauru, and shared with The Huffington Post Australia by refugee group OPC Voice. A group of around 30 children, boys and girls appearing to be from the ages of four to twelve, sit outside on barren grass and share their stories, with a voice off-camera claiming some of the children had been on Nauru for more than 31 months.
Some of the children appear to be the same ones featured in another video shared by OPC Voice, which HuffPost Australia reported on Monday.
In the video, the children make direct appeals to the Australian government and Australian citizens. The children allege abuse and bullying by students in the school which refugee children and Nauruan children share, as well as claiming the principal of the school responded to their complaints by saying "I don't care... I don't have to do nothing for you guys."
The children in the video state:
- "Please, I'm begging you, help us, get us out of here"
- "I have no friends here... [Australian] kids can go to movies, can get everything. kids here don't have playgrounds or anything"
- "We're tired, when we go to school we don't have anything... the teachers always hit us"
- "When I go to school, the Nauru [children] say "refugee, go to your country, here is our country." All the time they fight us and swear to us, they punch us. We go tell the principal, the principal says to us "I don't care... I don't have to do nothing for you guys"
- "We want a real home... and a real school, not like this. We want to go to Australia, please let us go, I beg you"
- "In here we have nothing to play with. We have nothing, we don't know what to do. We jusr have to sit in houses"
- "Outside the school, they bully us a lot. When we go to the principal, he says "it's their country"... they bully us when we go to home... we go walking, they throw rocks... at night, we can't go outside, they hit a lot of Iranians, the Nauruans hit them... this is our pledge, we cant stay here"
A still from the video (blurred)
The video, which has been uploaded to OPC Voice's website, ends with an older girl directly addressing Australia:
"Do you hear our voice? Australian government use us for hostages for stopping the boats. We are children, not policy matters," she said.
"You can't use us for stopping the boats. Are we not children? What's the difference between us and the children [in] Australia? Are we different? Are they beautifuler [sic]? Are we ugly?"
The Nauru detention centre has been recently converted to a 24-hour free access centre where refugees can come and go into the mainstream Nauru community.
The video was shared with HuffPost Australia by an Iranian refugee on Nauru called Mehdi. He said he had been on Nauru for 30 months.
"We have some child here that have no mother. They need love, peace. Our children always asking me about cinema, playground, shop and everything that they have seen in the movie," he said.
"You tell me how we can explain to them about those things."
A spokesperson from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection said the video was "disturbing".
"The Department and its service providers continue to work with the Government of Nauru to provide appropriate support services for transferees and settled refugees in Nauru," the spokesperson said.
"It is always disturbing to see children in a distressed state, especially when all children in the video are using remarkably similar words."
The video's publication comes after recent claims a school teacher sexually harassed asylum seeker children on the island.
On Monday, the Daily Telegraph also reported 72 more children would soon be moved from Australian on-shore detention facilities to Nauru.
The release of the videos by OPC comes as several recent media reports point to the stresses detained refugees endure in immigration detention. The Guardian on Monday reported the government's own detention centre healthcare provider has warned children suffer more serious mental health crises than adults in the centres, while Fairfax Media detailed recent self-harm incidents in immigration detention.