Immigration sends raped Somali refugee back to Nauru

October 16, 2015
Asylum seekers on Nauru this year.

Immigration department officials seized pregnant Somali refugee Abyan from Villawood detention centre and flew her to the Solomon Islands on October 16, with the plan to fly her from there to Nauru.

Abyan had been flown in from Nauru four days earlier to see doctors regarding the planned termination of a pregnancy that resulted from her being raped while in detention on the island.

However, despite being told she would be able to speak with in-house counsellors, she did not see any counsellors or doctor, nor did she receive any advice regarding medical arrangements for her planned termination.

Refugee Action Coalition spokesperson Ian Rintoul said: “This attempt to remove her is the most shocking violation of her rights imaginable. It is a vindictive move by the government against someone who has already suffered months of unnecessary trauma on Nauru.

“The department has wilfully ignored the medical advice that Abyan not be returned to the place of her assault. They were in such a rush to get her out of the country, they could not even wait for a flight to Nauru.

“At no time has Abyan indicated to any advisers that she longer intended to proceed with the termination. Abyan has not been properly medically treated since she was sexually assaulted.”

“The department's efforts to remove Abyan have solved nothing. She was brought to Australia, last Sunday, because she needed urgent medical care. She has lost 10kgs in a month. She must be brought back to Australia, where she can get the treatment and care she needs.”

Rintoul said: “I sat with Abyan on [October 13] at Villawood where she made it clear that she wanted to see counsellors regarding the termination of her pregnancy. She has been denied the right to seek advice from doctors.

“She said she wanted to thank all those who had helped her get to Australia, 'from the bottom of my heart' and hoped to be able to 'regain my health, wellbeing and energy.'

“That hope has been ripped from her, by the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection.”

Abyan had told Rintoul: “I cannot go back to where this happened to me; I cannot go to where I was raped. What happened to me there [on Nauru] is what caused me to run away from Somalia. What happened to me in Somalia is what happened to me there [in Nauru].”

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