You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Commission can hear Nauru claims

AAP logoAAP 11/08/2016

Human rights groups say the royal commission investigating institutional responses to child abuse has the power to examine allegations of abuse and neglect of asylum seekers on Nauru.

Three groups, headed by the Human Rights Law Centre, on Friday released legal advice backing their claim.

The advice was given to the royal commission a year ago after it ruled it could not investigate events in another country.

"In a nutshell, the advice says that while the royal commission can't obviously go to Nauru and exercise coercive powers ... it can look at the response of the Australian government and its contractors to child sexual abuse," Hugh de Kretser from the Human Rights Law Centre said.

The move follows the leaking of 2000 critical incident reports which detail abuse, self-harm and neglect claims by asylum seekers.

Marc Purcell from the Council for International Development urged the commission to accept the legal advice.

"There is commonwealth responsibility for the harm being caused to people on Nauru and children," he said.

Human Rights Commission president Gillian Triggs believes the royal commission should be extended to examine how Australia has managed the entire Nauru process.

"It is not good enough to say this is for another sovereign nation," she said.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton says the most serious claims will be examined by his department but it is up to Nauru to investigate the cases.

"Nauru is not part of Australia so this is an issue for the Nauruan government," he told ABC TV.

Mr Dutton took aim at Labor, saying the Nauru legacy was going to last a long time.

"We are not going to clean up this mess that Labor created overnight," he said.

The Law Council of Australia has renewed its call for the appointment of an independent inspector of immigration detention and an independent monitor for migration laws.

"An independent reviewer could operate in a similar fashion to the federal Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security," council president Stuart Clark said.

He said its first task should be to examine the disturbing reports of alleged incidents on Nauru.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon