Leaked Nauru Police Emails Show Staff Mock Refugees Self-Hurting, Suicide

Warning: This article contains mentions of suicide and self-harm.


The dwindling number of refugees and asylum seekers in Australia’s offshore processing centers in Nauru are still frequently attempting suicide and self-harm – with common threats of self-immolation – leaked emails from Nauru police force show.

Internal emails among the police also reveal an irreverent attitude towards the plight of the detainees, as well as a resistance to media scrutiny.

Earlier this week, a mine of emails belonging to the Nauru police force have been posted onlineallegedly by a group of anonymous hackers protesting Australia’s mandatory offshore processing policy.

These emails include routine reporting of incidents affecting asylum seekers, confirming that people detained in Nauru continue to harm themselves at high rates.

Wilson Security, which has been hired by the Australian government to manage Nauru’s processing centers, informs the Nauru Government, Nauru Police, Internal Affairs of Australia and the Australian Federal Police each month about self-harm, threats to self-harm, hunger strikes and other accidents.

A slide from a Wilson Security briefing to the Australian and Nauruan police agencies (image: provided)

The briefings contain lists of refugees and asylum seekers who are rated at high risk for self-immolation, self-harm or aggressive behavior. Minutes of the meeting contain regular incident reports detailing threats and acts of arson, inciting riots and suicide attempts.

The leaked emails also show a detached tone from some policemen who are dealing with these situations. A police officer forwarded an email showing gruesome images of an asylum seeker slashing his wrists, with a message: “Report photo evidence of our dramatic inmate” with a smiling emoji.

Another officer responded to a weekly intelligence update noting a threat of self-immolation: “Was it because of his refugee status as usual?”

Documents show that police often attribute self-harm to ulterior motives. In 2017, Nauru Deputy Police Commissioner Kalinda Blake wrote in an email to all staff that asylum seekers and refugees were intentionally suffering traffic accidents because they thought getting hurt was “the only way to leave this island.” “. Other threats are attributed to refugees and asylum seekers trying to get better rooms or get urgent appointments with staff.

Other emails show how the force responded to complaints of mistreatment in the centers. A police staff member released information about the visit of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Subcommittee on Torture Prevention and urged staff training.

“I suppose there will be reports of human torture in the past by the Nauru police force or maybe not. In any case, we will be ready and confident to respond, “said one.

Another shows the police commissioner forwarding a request from an Australian journalist about a refugee allegedly being assaulted by men in Nauru to the country’s president Lionel Rouwen Aingimea. He replied: “Forget it. Don’t answer them “.

New emails have now been released showing how the Nauru Police Force and the Australian Federal Police responded to the hack.

An email sent by Nauru Police Commissioner Iven Notte criticized Woh for covering the loss of e-mail.

“Crikey is [sic] online publishing platform of [sic] it can throw any story into the public arena and we firmly believe that the intention is against the Australian government, of course [sic] damages for the upcoming general election with the offshore processing center here in Nauru, “he wrote.

Night did not answer by Crikey request for comment.

An Australian Federal Police cybercrime investigator contacted the Icelandic company hosting the email leak and asked them to remove it, even after recognizing “whistleblower protection and free media” in Australian and Icelandic law because it “allows for criminal activity. “.

The host, FlokiNET, refused: “The public has a right to know what is happening in Nauru and you will not stop it.”


For those seeking help, lifeline is 13 11 14 and BeyondBlue it is on 1300 22 4636. In an emergency, call 000.