Photos Emerge Of Some Of The 119 Child Detainees On Nauru
A coalition of 30 groups has given the government a three month deadline to resettle all children off Nauru.
George*, a two-year-old child with big brown eyes, has never known any life other than that on Nauru. He was born on the island, where his family have been for five years.
Although he doesn't yet speak -- unusual for a toddler his age -- he loves to write, and play with his toy car.
"I think he's going to be a writer, like his father," his mum said. She hopes that nobody else will ever be put in their situation, that of not knowing what the future holds.
George is one of 119 children on Nauru. On Monday, a coalition of more than 30 organisations set a three month deadline for Australia's political leaders to remove all children and their families from the island.
"It is clear that indefinite detention is daily causing real and serious harm to these children," said CEO of World Vision, Claire Rogers.
"As agencies charged with protecting children's rights we are inviting all Australians who care about children to join us in demanding these kids be released."
It comes as some of the first images of children on Nauru are released.
"Many of them have lived for years in tents, they have been separated from close family members and have no safe place to play or access to acceptable medical care," said Rogers.
"And no hope."
Along with George, images of Roze, two, and Melanie, three, have been released. (All names have been changed.)
Roze, said World Vision Australia, is "a sociable little girl and likes to play outside". She was born in PNG, but has spent her entire life on Nauru, where her family has been for five years.
Melanie, whose family has also been on the island for five years, plays with Lego and paint, and according to her mum, pretends to be a doctor.
"It is so difficult to live in Nauru," she said. "I wish on nobody that they are stuck here like us."
Almost 12,000 people have signed a total of three petitions, launched simultaneously on Monday by GetUp!, the Refugee Council of Australia and World Vision.
They are calling on the government to remove the children from Nauru by Universal Children's Day on November 20.
It comes after a devastating report that children on the island were suffering from the rare "resignation syndrome", a severe depressive disorder where children refuse to eat, drink, talk or walk, or in some cases, even open their eyes. It's an extreme reaction to trauma, and can lead to death.
It's also what doctors are saying is befalling a 12-year-old boy, who has been on hunger strike for more than two weeks. The Iranian-born refugee has been on the island for five years. Over the weekend, the Australian Border Force failed to move him to Australia for treatment after refusing to allow his step-father to accompany him.
"He's got quite a difficult family situation," said president of advocacy group Doctors for Refugees, Dr Barri Phatarford, on ABC Radio last week.
"He's severely depressed. I don't really want to say much more about his personal medical condition but it's pretty obvious that when you've got a child that refuses to eat or drink for up to two weeks they are profoundly depressed."
He and his family were recently rejected for resettlement in the US, as part
Since December last year, 17 children suffering life-threatening psychological or physical illnesses have been brought to Australia for treatment, which Kelly Nicholls of the Refugee Council of Australia said is usually "over the protests of the Australian government".
"This was necessary because the Australian government consistently ignores the advice of doctors in deciding when people need to be transferred for medical treatment," she told ten daily.
On Monday, the Shadow Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Shayne Neumann, wrote to Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton urging him to accept New Zealand's offer of resettlement.
"If Peter Dutton is too distracted by his leadership ambitions to address his failure to manage Australian-funded regional processing centres or negotiate other third country resettlement options, it's time for Malcolm Turnbull to step in and clean up his minister's mess," he said.
"I urge the Government to both accept the offer and negotiate conditions similar to the US refugee resettlement agreement to prevent people smugglers exploiting vulnerable people.
"If the Turnbull Government was able to negotiate appropriate conditions for the US deal, you should be able to negotiate similar appropriate conditions for any deal with New Zealand."
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told reporters in Wellington that her government's standing offer to resettle the refugees was turned down by Nauru.
"We've talked directly, through various channels, with the government of Nauru about that offer, as we have with the Australian government," she said.
"The government in Nauru has continued to point out that they wish to work directly with Australia.
"Really, it's beyond our own capacity to deliver on it."