news

A 23-year-old refugee raped on Nauru is begging the government for an abortion.

“The prime minister wants Australia to be known as a country that respects women, well, we can start with this poor soul.”

A pregnant, 23-year-old Somali refugee is pleading with the Australian government for an abortion after allegedly being raped on Nauru.

According to refugee advocates, the women known as “Abyan” is living on a diet of milk and water and has not seen a doctor or left her accommodation in four weeks.

“Abyan’s case is urgent,” Ian Rintoul of the Refugee Action Coalition said.

“Her mental and physical health has been put at risk by the negligence of the Nauru service providers and by the Australian Immigration department.”

Last week, ABC’s 7.30 program aired a video of the incident in which Abyan was apparently raped by two Nauruan men.

The horrific footage was captured by a second victim, a 26-year-old Somali woman, as she hid, terrified, in the bushes.

A screencap from the video which aired on the ABC.

The two woman had been living in the Nauruan community.

Abyan is now 11 weeks pregnant as a result of the rape and lawyers acting on her behalf have written to the Australian government, begging them to bring her here so that she can have access to safe abortion services and adequate healthcare.

As yet, they have heard nothing back, neither from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull nor Immigration Minister Peter Dutton.

One of the lawyers representing Abyan, George Newhouse, told Fairfax that the failure to respond was “cruel and heartless”.

“Time is quickly running out, this is not a joke, a traumatised and vulnerable woman’s health and safety is [at] stake,” he said.

Malcolm Turnbull has previously called the multiple allegations of rape on the island “very alarming”.

ADVERTISEMENT
Malcolm Turnbull has maintained his government’s harsh stance on immigration.

Since taking on the prime ministership he has also made several statements claiming that violence against women should be considered unacceptable by Australians.

When announcing his package to tackle family violence in Australia, he said, “We have to make it unAustralian to disrespect women.”

It seems inconceivable then, that under his watch women could be treated so inhumanely, a point which Mr Newhouse seized on.

“The Prime Minister wants Australia to be known as a country that respects women, well, we can start with this poor soul.”

Professor Caroline de Costa from James Cook University told the Refugee Action Coalition that if Abyan’s story is true, she is “uneqivocally” entitled to care by the Australian government — both as a pregnant woman and a victim of sexual assault.

“This woman who is under the care of the government of Australia should be transferred without delay to Australia, to a service where she can have appropriate consultation, examination and care from experienced and sympathetic professionals, an informed decision made by her, and termination of pregnancy performed if that is in fact her decision,” she said.

“She should also receive care appropriate for women following sexual assault. This is the standard of care we believe essential for women resident in Australia; it should also be provided for women supposedly under the protection of Australia.”

Yesterday we heard that the Nauruan government will process the 600 asylum seekers who remain in detention on Nauru “within the next week“.

None have any hope of being resettled on Australia, but many will find themselves living in despicably harsh conditions in the Nauruan community.

If this is the kind of life being offered to asylum seekers on the island, something seriously needs to be done.

Tags:
    00:00 / ???