October 26, 2014 | ABC News
The Federal Government has been accused of trying to cover-up the alleged rape of an asylum seeker on Nauru.
The ABC understands an Iranian woman was allegedly raped several months ago by a fellow detainee and is now pregnant.
It was also understood she complained to officials with the Immigration Department, who referred the matter to local police.
The ABC has been told they responded by telling the woman it would be a year before they could investigate her allegation.
Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said the Department of Immigration and Border Protection had already referred these allegations to the Moss Review.
The Greens’ immigration spokeswoman Sarah Hanson-Young wanted the matter handed over to Australian Federal Police (AFP).
She has also accused Mr Morrison of a cover-up after he failed to respond to requests for more information.
A woman alleged she’s been raped and now she can’t even get the appropriate investigation that she would if she was living freely in the Australian community.Senator Sarah Hanson-Young
“What it really highlights is just how toxic the environment is inside the Nauru detention centre,” Senator Hanson-Young said.
“It’s been described to me numerous times and I saw it for my own eyes that there is a total sense of lawlessness.
“What we’d consider to be normal in terms of process, in terms of how people behave and treat each other… all of that is eroded because of the way the centre is run and the culture of desperation that has developed.”
Senator Hanson-Young said she wrote to the Minister over the issue but had yet to hear back.
“A woman alleged she’s been raped and now she can’t even get the appropriate investigation that she would if she was living freely in the Australian community,” she said.
Mr Morrison said the findings of the Moss Review would be made available to law enforcement and investigative authorities.
“Any allegations of criminal behaviour are referred to the Nauruan Police,” he said.
“If the government of Nauru seeks assistance the [Australian] Government would be happy to provide it.”
The ABC has also been told a counsellor who offered to help the woman was ordered off Nauru.
‘There’s no proper judicial arrangements on Nauru’
Ian Rintoul from the Refugee Action Coalition said nothing has happened with similar cases referred to local police.
“They know when it goes to the Nauruan police it effectively just disappears,” he said.
“There is no proper judicial arrangements on Nauru, there’s no way for these complaints actually to be followed up.
“There’s no indication that they’re even recorded for follow up and we’ve found that in previous instances where there’ve been similar kinds of allegations of sexual abuse on Nauru.”
Mr Rintoul said Mr Morrison needed to bring the woman to Australia for medical treatment and counselling.
“The Minister has shown contempt really for the welfare of women and children on the island by the way in which he’s pointed the finger at Save the Children, the very people he’s contracted to provide the kind of support and services women and children need.
“The Minister’s been more concerned to distract attention.”