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    Anna Neistat, Senior Director for Research with Amnesty International, talks to journalists as she holds a copy of a report she co-authored titled 'Island of Despair - Australia's Processing of Refugees on Nauru' in Sydney, Australia, October 17, 2016

    Australia in Nauru Runs Open-Air Prison, Not Immigration Processing Center

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    Australian government runs on Nauru an open-air prison designed to inflict as much suffering as necessary to stop some of the world’s most vulnerable people from trying to find safety in Australia, according to Anna Neistat, Amnesty International’s Senior Director for Research.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Refugees and asylum seekers at the Australia-run Nauru immigration processing center are subjected to cruelty and abuse, while their detention in the center amounts to torture and serving sentence in an open-air prison, a report by an international watchdog revealed on Monday.

    "On Nauru, the Australian government runs an open-air prison designed to inflict as much suffering as necessary to stop some of the world’s most vulnerable people from trying to find safety in Australia," Anna Neistat, Amnesty International’s Senior Director for Research, said in a statement following the report's release.

    She added that "the combination of refugees’ severe mental anguish, the intentionally harmful nature of the system, and the fact that the goal of offshore processing is intended to intimidate or coerce others to achieve a specific outcome, means that Australia’s offshore 'processing' regime fits the definition of torture under international law."

    Australia detains refugees who come to the country to seek asylum in offshore detention camps on the Manus Island in Papua New Guinea and Nauru in the South Pacific, while their application is being processed by Canberra. Australia's policy in regard to refugees has been repeatedly criticized by different rights groups

    The Nauru facility was opened in 2001 and ran until 2008. In 2012, it was reopened following a surge in the number of maritime arrivals of asylum seekers. The center has been in focus of a scandal since August after media published over 2,000 leaked files documenting large-scale abuse, particularly of children, at the facility.

    Related:

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    Nauru Says Leaked Files Fabricated, Refugees Used as Political 'Pawns'
    Leaked Nauru Files Show Security Staff Routinely Downgraded Abuse Records
    UN Urges Nauru to Create Torture-Preventing Mechanism at Detention Center
    Tags:
    detention center, Amnesty International, Anna Neistat, Nauru, Australia
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