Nauru says child refugee charged in rally

Nauru police have admitted a child was among the refugees charged over a protest in which another refugee was assaulted by a local.


Refugees on the tiny island have been staging protests and a campaign of non-co-operation amid growing tension with locals.

Nauru police said 183 people were arrested during this week’s protests, with 174 charged and released on bail.

Charges included unlawful assembly, serious assault, assaulting of police, damaging property, damaging of a police vehicle and obstruction of police.

Australian Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young said on Thursday she had spoken to a 17-year-old refugee who was arrested with 18 other unaccompanied minors.

She had also been told 20 families with children as young as three were arrested.

However, Nauru police said in a statement released on Friday that only a 13-year-old boy had been arrested following a court-issued warrant for assaulting a police officer.

It’s alleged the boy threw rocks at police, injuring one.

“Some refugees used their children as shields when being arrested, but these children were moved by police and given to the care of case workers,” police said.

Police also revealed a Nauruan national had been arrested and charged with assaulting a refugee.

On Wednesday, Australia’s immigration minister Peter Dutton said the protests would have no influence on the government’s commitment to processing and resettlement on Nauru.

“Those who come illegally by boat will never be settled in Australia.”

The Nauru police said all people had a right to protest peacefully, but the refugees had refused to do so by blocking roads and throwing rocks.

Police denied acting aggressively during the protest.

“The Nauru police continue to liaise with refugees and hope that this situation can be resolved without further conflict.”

So far, Nauru has temporarily resettled 500 refugees.