They’re the human face of Australia’s tough border policies – the more than 100 refugee children living on Nauru.
“We’re not criminals and we’re not dangerous. Can you tell us why are we still here?” - Child refugee
On Monday night Four Corners speaks to children and young people recognised as refugees, released from detention, but trapped in limbo.
“When people came here they were patient. No one is patient any more. They’re just waiting for a spark to explode.” - Young refugee
In footage filmed for Four Corners and smuggled out of the country, these children talk of their experiences over the last three years.
“They showed the knife to us and they say don’t come here anymore. This is not your school, this is our school. This is our country. Go away from here.” - Child refugee
Both the Nauruan and Australian governments say they want the refugees moved on from Nauru, but they have been unable to reach agreements on where else they could be sent.
“They tell us ‘We will take you to another country’, ‘You will stay here for one more month’, ‘You will stay here for one more year.’ And then every time, lying.” - Child refugee
While that stalemate continues, many of these children are struggling to hang on to hope.
“It’s like we’re forgotten children in Nauru. Our future is bleak.” - Child refugee
Back in Australia, the experience of these refugees has had a lasting impact on the teachers who had to leave them behind.
“You could see the light drain out of their eyes. You could see them go flat.” - Teacher
“It was like constantly talking people off a ledge.” - Teacher
The Forgotten Children, reported by Debbie Whitmont and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 17th October at 8.30pm on ABC & iview. It is replayed on Tuesday 18th October at 10.00am and Wednesday 19th at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm AEDT, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.