Friday 23 March 2018

Refugee raped in offshore processing centre begs Australia to let her enter for abortion

The island nation of Nauru, where Australian maintains a detention centre for migrants
The island nation of Nauru, where Australian maintains a detention centre for migrants

David Kearns

A Somali woman raped in an Australian refugee camp has been denied the right to come to the mainland for an abortion.

The 23-year-old refugee says she was raped in a processing centre for migrants run by the Australian government on the island nation of Nauru after she was sent there.

She is now 11 weeks pregnant.

Lawyers acting on her behalf have asked the Australian government to fly her back to Australia for a possible termination, but have reportedly received no reply from either the Prime Minister or the Immigration Minister.

A gynecology professor, Caroline de Costa, says the 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 care to make an informed decision.

She says if this woman's story is correct she is lawfully entitled to a termination of pregnancy in any jurisdiction in Australia except South Australia.

Abortions are illegal in Nauru, a tiny island country in Micronesia in the Central Pacific

Australia's opposition leader Bill Shorten has told the ABC that it was a travesty if the raped woman was denied an abortion in Australia.

Last week, a harrowing video from a 26-year-old Somali refugee on Nauru calling police after allegedly being raped was aired on Australian television.

The woman, "Abyan" is one of two female Somali refugees who have requested help from Australia after being raped on the island.

It has been claimed that it took police more than four hours to answer her plea.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he was alarmed that two women on Nauru had been raped after they requested Australia to help, but so far has refused to comment on the matter of allowing them to come to Australian for abortions.

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