Nazanin's family finally brought to Australia

January 21, 2016
Activists are demanding the transfer of all victims of sexual abuse from Nauru to Australia.

In May last year Nazanin, a 23-year-old Iranian asylum seeker, was raped on Nauru.

It took three months and a medical emergency for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to send her to Australia for treatment.

At the time, the department said Nazanin's mother and brother would also be brought to Australia to provide critical family support.

For more than six months, the department ignored advice from its own medical service provider on Nauru IHMS and of Nazanin's treating doctors and psychiatrists in Australia that she be reunited with her mother and brother. Requests for their transfer were overridden by Border Force in Canberra.

Suddenly, on January 14, Nazanin's brother and mother were given 30 minutes notice that they were being sent to Australia. Now they are together, but the separation has taken a terrible toll on Nazanin and her family.

The belated transfer of the family and at least two other victims of sexual assault to Australia raises the wider question of the contempt shown by the minister and his department, the Nauru government and the Nauruan police for the victims of sexual assault on Nauru.

Refugee Action Coalition's spokesperson Ian Rintoul said: “The transfer of more victims of sexual assault from Nauru is a tacit admission that Nauru is unsafe. But the response also reveals the official policy to cover-up the scale of the abuse on Nauru.

“As a matter of urgency, all the victims of rape and sexual assault on Nauru should be immediately brought to Australia. Some victims have been unable to leave their accommodation for months for fear of more harassment. The government's offshore policy has left asylum seekers and refugees vulnerable to attack. Nauru must be closed.

“The department's contempt doesn't end on Nauru. Victims of sexual assault who have been brought to Australia have been left for months in detention, treated as criminals and isolated from the support that they need. They should be released into the community.”

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