Thursday, September 01, 2016

Wilson Security to withdraw from Manus and Nauru

Wilson Security says it no longer wants to work in Australia’s offshore detention regime. The company says it will leave the Manus Island and Nauru detention centres at the end of its contract, which leaves the government without a camp manager or security firm for the offshore detention network.

Wilson joins the Australian government’s major contractor running the camps, Broadspectrum – owned by Spanish giant Ferrovial – in announcing it will abandon offshore detention when the current contract ends in October 2017.

“In line with Broadspectrum’s future intentions Wilson Security can now confirm that it will also not tender for any further offshore detention services,” the company said in a statement.

Nauru files reveal cases of alleged sexual violence and child abuse not disclosed to parliament
Exclusive: Wilson Security, contracted to protect asylum seekers on Manus and Nauru, did not tell an Australian Senate inquiry about at least 16 serious allegations

“The provision of security services at regional processing centres (RPCs) is not in line with Wilson Security’s long-term strategic priorities. Wilson Security will continue to deliver all aspects of its current contract with Broadspectrum until completion of the contract.”

The companies involved in offshore processing have faced intense pressure in recent months, with protests at their places of business, divestment and boycott movements, and a sustained public campaign highlighting systemic abuses happening inside the offshore detention centres.

Wilson has been under particularly intense pressure since the publication of the Nauru files which revealed incident reports detailing allegations of Wilson employees on the island assaulting asylum seekers and refugees, including allegations of sexually assaulting women and children, and attacking and choking children.

The 2,000-plus leaked incident reports in the Nauru Files also showed that Wilson guards pressured other workers on the island to downgrade incident reports, from critical to major or minor, even when it was clear – such as in the case of a suicide attempt – that the incident was critical.

The Nauru files also revealed that Wilson Security officials may have misled a Senate inquiry, by failing to fully reveal the number of assaults on children inside the Nauru detention centre.

Senior Wilson officials have previously been rebuked for giving false evidence to the Senate, and are likely to be called back to explain at least 16 incidents of child abuse that they failed to reveal to senators under direct questioning. The incidents include allegations a guard sexually assaulted a young boy, a child being choked by a guard, and a guard shining a torch on the genitals of a girl he had forced to go to the toilet on the ground.

Wilson Security has maintained that all of its evidence to the Senate was full and correct. The company had “fully cooperated with and, based on the information to hand, provided honest and accurate evidence,” to the inquiry, a spokeswoman said in a statement to the Guardian.

Wilson guards have also been accused of illegal behaviour on Manus Island. In July 2015, three Wilson guards allegedly drugged and gang-raped a local woman inside the accommodation block of the detention centre. However, the men were flown off the island and out of Papua New Guinea before police could investigate.

Despite promises the men allegedly involved would be returned to face questioning, they have never been repatriated.

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