Two attempted suicides on Nauru follow sexual assault cover-up

Refugee Action Coalition



The mother and brother of a 23 year-old Iranian woman, who was
viciously sexually assaulted and bashed two months ago on Nauru,
attempted suicide last night on Nauru.

Controversy has surrounded the assault and the treatment of the family
since the attack in May.

Initially the immigration department and the Nauruan police denied the
sexual assault had taken place. It took three days for the Australian
and Nauruan authorities to admit that the assault had taken place.

The woman, her brother and mother, have been held incommunicado in the
staff accommodation area, formerly the original detention area, called
OPC 1, since the woman was assaulted.

It is understood from refugees on Nauru, that the attempted suicides
were precipitated by anger and frustration with the on-going treatment
and isolation of the family, and in particular the separation of the
victim from her mother and brother.

One refugee told the Refugee Action Coalition last night (Thursday
night) that, “The family needs help. No-one knows what is happening to
our friend and her family. No-one can talk to them.”

The attempted suicides come at a time of escalating sexual assaults
alongside inaction and indifference by police and authorities on
Nauru. The escalating number and impunity associated with the assaults
has created a climate of fear on Nauru.

Somali women at the Ewa refugee camp on Nauru have become the latest
victims of what are becoming regular assaults. Last week, one Somali
woman was threatened by three masked men armed with a knife.

Last night (Thursday night) police were called to Ewa when men
approached the accommodation huts of the single women.

“Nauru is unsafe. The asylum seekers and refugees must be brought to
the mainland,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action

“The Moss review and the Senate enquiry have revealed the scale of
sexual and physical abuse against women and children in detention.

“Female refugees are being terrorised. Many of them have fled such
abuse from their home countries only to find they are the victims of
sexual crimes on Nauru.

“Some refugee women are so terrorised they have appealed to be placed
back into detention.

“There must be an independent inquiry into the cover-up and continuing
mistreatment of the victim of the May assault.

“Former Ministers and the Australian government has tried to cover up
the assault and abuse that is endemic on Nauru. That is the main
reason the Coalition government introduced the Border Force Act. That
secrecy has led to a situation in which sexual assault happens on
Nauru with impunity. The Australian government is complicit in the
reign of terror on Nauru.”

For more information, contact Ian Rintoul mob 0417 275 713