This week marked four years since the federal government announced the current offshore processing regime for people seeking asylum.
During this time, RACS said that there have been consistent violations to human rights in these offshore detention centres, with six people even losing their lives as a result of the treatment they have had to endure.
“At RACS, we have seen families torn apart by this cruel and inhumane policy and the effects that this policy has had on the many whom were transferred back to Australia for medical treatment,” a statement read.
“RACS had a program to advocate that such people be released from detention and live in the Australian community while receiving such treatment.”
RACS’ principal solicitor Sarah Dale represents 24 teenage boys who are currently positioned at the Nauru detention centre.
She said that these boys were just children when they were “dragged from their beds in the middle of the night and taken to Nauru, where they have now spent what should have been some of the best years of their lives languishing in tents and in limbo, fearing for their safety”.
“These boys would literally give anything to get off Nauru,” Ms Dale explained.
Ms Dale said RACS has had access to a number of health records and case files that detail the horrific circumstances the people on Nauru and Manus have had to endure.
“Our team at RACS are left with chills simply reviewing the documentation we have. We are scarred by what we have seen and live in fear of what else we don’t know given the extensive secrecy implemented on such matters,” she said.
In addition to the access of health records and case files which demonstrate the abuse, Ms Dale pointed to the Four Years Too Many report, which was released by GetUp and the Human Rights Law Centre.
The report cites statistics from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and indicates that there has been a “critical” or “major incident” on Manus Island almost every single day for last four years.
The report also indicates that there have been incidents of self-harm by detainees approximately once a week.
“The conditions on Nauru and Manus Island are harmful and abusive,” Ms Dale said.
“There is absolutely no justifiable reason for offshore detention and certainly no reason for the systematic and relentless cruelty inflicted upon those who simply asked for our help.
“We must bring an end to this cruel and pointless policy, and we must evacuate Manus Island and Nauru now.”