The woman fears that her children will die if they are sent back to the Nauru detention facility. (Photo: AAP)
By Felicity Ogilvie
November 9, 2013
An asylum seeker who was flown from Nauru to give birth in Australia says she is afraid that her baby and young children will die if the family is sent back to the island.
The Rohingya woman from Myanmar says she gave birth via caesarean section in a hospital in Brisbane on Wednesday.
The woman says that while she was pregnant she was detained in a tent for two weeks on Nauru.
She says they were served pre-prepared meals that were sometimes only half-cooked, and she says it was hot inside the tents.
“It was too hot. I cannot explain. Even day or night I could not fall asleep because of the heat,” the woman said through a translator.
The Rohingya woman, who says she has diabetes, says she was flown to Australia because she was pregnant.
The woman says she was flown to Australia about 20 days ago. A local on Nauru says she left on October 17.
She says while on Nauru she was told she was having twins, but in Australia she had scans showing she was having one baby.
The woman was flown to Australia where she says she had scans and found out she was having one baby, not twins.
On October 18 at his weekly media briefing the Immigration Minister Scott Morrison answered questions about pregnant women on Nauru.
“This suggestion that there is a pregnant woman with twins on Nauru is simply not true. It’s actually not true,” he said.
“There is not a pregnant woman with twins on Nauru.
“I strongly suggest that media should more thoroughly interrogate the sorts of claims that are being represented to you.”
‘If we go back they may die’
She says that she was sent to Australia on her own and asked the doctors to recommend that her husband and two other children also be moved with her.
The woman says that three days later her husband and children, who are seven and four, arrived in Australia.
Now that she has given birth she is asking Immigration for the family not to be sent back to Nauru.
“We don’t think the kids will survive if they’re returned to Nauru. Even the seven-year-old and four-year-old, they were always crying and they don’t eat the food and they found it very difficult,” she said through the translator.
“Now with the newborn baby if we go back there it’s possible they will die.”
She says immigration has told her that if it is appropriate to send her to Nauru she will be sent there again.
Woman was told she would be having twins
While she was pregnant and detained on Nauru she says that she had scans and was told that she was having twins.
“They said the same thing in Indonesia and then in Nauru. They said she would give birth to twins: a boy and a girl,” the translator said.
The UNHCR visited Nauru last month and met the woman who told them she was having twins.
Her husband says believes the scan that was done on Nauru was an ultrasound and he says it was done by a doctor.
“It was a not a hospital like in Australia. It was a temporary clinic or something like that,” the woman’s husband said through a translator
The woman says she was taken for a scan within hours of arriving in Australia and found out that she was having one baby – not twins.
“They were taken to the Australian hospital here, then they started scanning and then they found it out was only one baby,” the woman’s translator said.
Morrison won’t rule out transfer back
In his weekly briefing on asylum seeker issues today, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison refused to rule out transferring the woman back to Nauru, saying she would receive the care she needed there.
“All appropriate care is provided for people who are located in the offshore processing facilities,” he said, adding, “If and when she is in a good state to return to Nauru or Manus Island, then that is what will occur.”
Asked is he felt conditions on Nauru were appropriate for pregnant women, he said: “There are facilities available to support people in that situation.”
He described Nauru as “a family facility”, and “designed to be able to take people that aren’t able to be taken at Manus Island.”
Human Rights official criticises detention of vulnerable people
The president of the Australian Human Rights Commission Gillian Triggs says vulnerable people are facing inhumane situations in offshore detention centres.
“We’re concerned about the particular harsh environments for more vulnerable people,” Professor Triggs said.
“It’s a difficult environment for anybody but to be sending youths and women, particularly pregnant women and very young children, to that environment must be be very harsh and is something we’re very troubled by.”
Professor Triggs says people should be dealt with individually not on the basis of blanket rules.
The Immigration Minister Scott Morrison’s office is yet to comment.