25 Apr 2014

Allegations of child abuse at Nauru detention centre

4:46 am on 25 April 2014

Security guards at Australia's asylum seeker detention centre on Nauru have been accused of verbally and physically abusing asylum seeker children in a letter sent by staff at the centre.

The Guardian newspaper says a letter sent by a worker for Save the Children Australia to the charity's Nauru contractors expressed allegations of mistreatment and inappropriate behaviour by guards employed by Wilson Security.

The letter alleged that on the 27th of March, a guard was seen chasing a young girl in a recreation area before hitting her on the back of the head, causing the child to fall to the ground.

The Guardian says it understands the guard was a local employee and is being investigated by Nauru police and stood down from duties at the family camp, but it is unclear if he still works for Wilson.

The letter also alleges cases of guards using excessive force to remove a child from a playground in the centre, and another child being pushed by an guard in a tent that served as a classroom.