An Australian doctor who worked at Nauru’s immigration detention centre has described witnessing a child trying to take their own life.
Paediatrician Dr David Isaacs and other staff from the centre have spoken publicly about what they say is a culture of cover ups and secrecy over abuse and rape claims, defying laws that could land them in prison.
“I saw a six-year-old girl who tried to hang herself with a fence tie and had marks around her neck. I’ve never seen a child self-harm of that age before,” Dr Isaacs told ABC’s 7.30.
“After five days, I went home and had nightmares. I didn’t expect that.
“I didn’t expect to be so, um, traumatised by these people’s trauma. These are people, ordinary people and we’re treating them with, um – sorry, we’re treating them with incredible cruelty.
“It’s child abuse. Putting children in detention is child abuse. So, our Government is abusing children in our name.”
Dr Isaacs’ comments come as former guards step forward to confirm allegations they spied on Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, who visited the centre in December 2013.
Guards, social workers and health staff now risk two years jail under the new Border Force Act if they publicly reveal their experiences at the detention centre.
The ABC also aired footage from the 2013 riots at the centre that appear to show guards joking about shooting escaping detainees just prior to the unrest breaking out.
A senate inquiry into the detention centre is expected to release its findings within days.
– with ABC