Nauru government criticised for releasing name
Refugee and rape crisis organisations have criticised the Nauru government's decision to release the name of a Somali woman who was allegedly raped in Nauru.
Refugee and rape crisis organisations have criticised the Nauru government's decision to release the name of a Somali woman who says she was raped in Nauru.
This comes as Nauru police closed the investigation of the case, citing a lack of evidence.
Esther Zweifel reports.
The spokesperson for Australian-based Refugee Action Coalition, Ian Rintoul, says publishing the woman's name is disgraceful.
It's clearly an attempt to intimidate any asylum-seeker, any refugee on Nauru from daring to go to the police or daring to go to the public and make a complaint about what is actually happening on Nauru. I think it's been a declaration of war, in that respect, by the Nauru government.
The police report of the incident, including personal details, was attached to a press release sent by the Nauru government.
Mr Rintoul says it confirms questions about the reliability of the Nauru police in responding to refugee claims of sexual assault.
It proves and confirms the question marks that the international community and certainly the Refugee Action Coalition and other people have about the reliability of the police. You have a situation where people on Nauru, refugees on Nauru will not go to the police to make complaints because they know that they are dismissed or worse. And unfortunately the Nauru government's actions in releasing this police report has simply confirmed just how much the police are a vehicle of the political motivations of the Nauruan government.
The executive officer at Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia, Karen Willis, says the way the woman was treated is appalling.
I hold grave concerns for her safety. I also hold grave concerns for her safety in terms of the security and the police there. If they're willing to undermine and humiliate her in that way, I do wonder what else they might be willing to do.
Ms Willis says a rape complainant's name should never be released, regardless of the outcome of an investigation.
There is no way that the full police statement of facts should be released for public consumption. It certainly, in Australia and New Zealand, that would be contempt of court and they would be held to pay for someone doing that so because a person is in a country still under the care and protection of Australia, but in another country that perhaps doesn't have those rules in place, doesn't mean that we should exploit that and mistreat someone in such a terrible way.
In response to the criticism, the Nauru Police Force issued a statement which says:
As far as the NPF is concerned, this matter is not before the court and there is no evidence to indicate a crime was committed, therefore there is no legal reason to suppress her name according to Nauruan law.
The Nauru Police have closed the investigation into her alleged rape, citing a lack of evidence.
The general manager of the Wellington Sexual Abuse HELP Foundation, Helen Sullivan, says the release of a rape complainant's name could be very damaging.
By naming the person it's basically shaming them and so it adds to the feelings of guilt and shame, that they may be experiencing as a result of what ever has happened to them.
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