21 Dec 2015

Claims of intimidation in Nauru

4:42 pm on 21 December 2015

An Australian refugee care group says female asylum seekers on Nauru are being intimidated by guards using a new body search policy.

The Refugee Action Coalition says asylum seekers and refugees are being sexually harassed during the searches when they enter RPC3, the camp accommodating families and single women.

The Coalition's Ian Rintoul says there have been at least two official complaints made about the searches but another five or six women have also been subjected to the abusive searches since the rule change.

No explanation has been given for change, but the women involved say the guards are searching particularly for smart phones, and they are also confiscating food and fruit brought from outside the camp.

Mr Rintoul says the process is an excuse for intimidating and abusive behaviour and if male guards are involved it becomes even more intrusive and threatening.