Nazanin’s family brought to Australia: Now bring all sexual assault victims off Nauru

| January 17, 2016 | Reply

In May, 2015, 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 finally medivac her from Nauru to Australia in August 2015.

At the time, the Department said that Nazanin’s mother and brother would also be brought to Australia to provide critical family support. But the Department reneged on that promise.

For six months, the Department has ignored advice from its own medical service provider, IHMS, on Nauru and the advice of Nazanin’s treating doctors and psychiatrists in Australia that she be re-united with her mother and brother. Requests for the transfer of her mother and brother were over-ridden ‘by Border Force in Canberra’.

Last Thursday, 14 January, with 30 minutes notice, Nazanin’s brother and mother were told they were being sent to Australia.

Thankfully, the separation of Nazanin from her family, enforced by the Department, has finally ended, but it has taken a terrible toll on Nazanin and her family.

But the belated transfer of the family to Australia raises the wider question of the contempt exhibited by the Minister and the Immigration Department, the Nauru government and the Nauruan police for the victims of sexual assault on Nauru.

There were at least two other victims of sexual assault brought to Australia from Nauru on that flight last Thursday. But other victims have been left suffering on Nauru.

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

“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.”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

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