Tuesday 20 March 2018

Refugee raped in offshore detention centre begs for abortion

The Somali refugee has pleaded for help from Malcolm Turnbull, the Australian prime minister
The Somali refugee has pleaded for help from Malcolm Turnbull, the Australian prime minister

Jonathan Pearlman in Sydney

A 23-year-old refugee who became pregnant after being raped at Australia's migrant detention centre in Nauru has pleaded with Malcolm Turnbull, the prime minister, to let her enter the country to have an abortion.

The Somali woman, who is about 14 weeks pregnant, is apparently not eating properly and has not left her room since the rape, aside from visits to the doctor.

Lawyers acting for the woman said the Australian government had failed to respond to requests to allow her to enter for medical assistance.

"We are extremely worried about her health and welfare," said George Newhouse, who is representing her.

"This poor woman needs a termination of this awful pregnancy as soon as possible.

"She is desperately ill - today she was so sick she was unable to come to the phone or the computer to connect with us."

Abortions are not permitted for cases of rape on the island.

A spokesman for Peter Dutton, the Australian immigration minister, said he would not comment on individual cases.


Australia has adopted one of the world's toughest approaches to asylum seekers, sending all of those who attempt to arrive by boat to remote offshore facilities in Nauru or Papua New Guinea.

Human-rights groups and the United Nations have denounced the bases as cruel, inhumane and unlawful.

However, Nauru insists that its centre is safe following numerous allegations that migrants have been raped and physically assaulted.

It said official refugees were in no danger and "stories of locals attacking them are largely fabricated to further political agendas and influence the Australian government".

"In some ways Nauru is safer than Australia," said David Adeang, Nauru's justice minister. (© The Daily Telegraph, London)


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