Nauru Denies Abuse Of Refugee Children In Schools

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Education Minister disputes reports of teacher bullying

By Simon Lauder

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, March 9, 2016) – The Nauru Government releases a video, denying claims that refugee children are being abused in the country's schools.

The Nauru Government has denied claims that refugee children are being abused in the country's schools.

Earlier this year videos emerged of children, purportedly refugees on Nauru, claiming they had been hit by teachers and bullied by students.

The videos were released in January by advocacy group Offshore Processing Centre Voice (OPC Voice) who claimed the children were filmed inside the Nauru refugee camp.

Today the Government of Nauru released its own video in which Education Minister Charmaine Scotty is filmed talking about the integration of refugee children into Nauruan schools.

"It's been overall a very harmonious experience for these kids," Ms Scotty says.

She goes on to argue that if the claims were true, there would also be complaints from Nauruan families, not just refugees.

"This idea that the teachers are abusing children is wrong, because funnily enough, the things that I read in the overseas media, it's the refugee children who are complaining about the teachers on Nauru.

"But the Nauruan children are not complaining. If this is the truth, the Nauruan are always the first ... the parents, they know their rights — they come and complain.

"They go to the police, they come to the Education Department. They bring in the complaints. If these complaints are genuine, it would have happened also with the local kids, with the Nauruan children."

Ms Scotty also cites the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

"It's an affront to us, to the people of Nauru and to the Education Department. Because Nauru, as most of the members of the United Nations, we ratified CRC — Convention on the Rights of the Child — and we adhere to that convention, to our mandate as being a signatory to that convention.

"All of us our teachers and have been trained in regards to recognising what child abuse is."

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