The return to Nauru of pregnant 23 year-old Somali refugee, Abyan (pseudonym), received international media attention. Abyan, who was allegedly raped on Nauru, released a statement through her lawyers declaring that while in Australia she did not say no to an abortion, nor did she receive counselling or see a doctor. Immigration Minister Peter Dutton maintained the government position that Abyan had declined treatment.
In response to the lack of transparency surrounding Abyan’s case, Human Rights Commissioner Gillian Triggs called for independent monitoring of Australia’s offshore detention facilities. Peter Dutton rejected the call, stating that current support was sufficient.
In a challenge to the Labor party’s support of offshore processing, Labor MP Melissa Parke moved a motion to Caucus. Ms Parke is calling on the party to demand improved independent oversight or close the centres on Manus Island and Nauru.
In Victoria, Afghan asylum seeker Khodayar Amini, 30, died due to self-immolation. Mr Amini came to Australia by boat in September 2012 and was living in the community on a bridging visa. He reportedly feared being returned to detention.
On Nauru, police officers conducted a second raid on Save the Children staff at the detention centre. Operating under a search warrant, police seized laptops and computers, in an alleged effort to locate whistle-blowers.
On Manus Island, asylum seeker Mohammed Albederee, who has been on a hunger strike for over six months, filmed a plea for help from the detention facility.
Diplomatic tension rose between Australia and New Zealand following the detention of 40 New Zealanders on Christmas Island. The detainees, who have previously served prison sentences of 12 months or more, threatened to riot in response to their treatment.
Internationally, Google launched ‘Crisis Info Hub’, a site aimed to support asylum seekers in their search for transport and accommodation worldwide.
Read the Kaldor Centre’s weekly news roundup.