28 Oct 2015

UN calls on Aust to care for pregnant, 'fragile' refugee

1:04 pm on 28 October 2015

The United Nations has called on Australia to provide urgent medical care for a pregnant refugee who was allegedly raped.

The woman known as Abyan was flown back to Nauru from Australia without a termination.

The barren and bankrupt island state of the Republic of Nauru awaits the arrival of refugees, 11 September 2001. Just 25 square kilometres, Nauru has been devastated by phosphate mining which once made the Micronesians the second wealthiest people per capita on earth. AFP PHOTO/Torsten BLACKWOOD

The Republic of Nauru Photo: AFP

Nauru refugee "Abyan" in fragile state on Nauru

UN human rights authorities say Abyan is in a fragile mental and physical state.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is in regular contact with Abyan.

A spokesperson for the UN human rights agency Rupert Colville says Abyan remains deeply traumatised.

"Just put yourself in the shoes of a woman whose been raped by a local man and there doesn't seem to be any real process going on by the law and order system to arrest that man, and just imagine what it's like living with that every day in such a small place where your attacker is literally just around the corner."

Mr Colville says Abyan has has not made a complaint to the Nauru police because she is afraid of reprisals.

"Wherever you are you're vulnerable to meeting that attacker or threatened by that attacker and that has happened in some cases. Some of the women who've been attacked or raped have been threatened by local men and they've also been stigmatised. Everyone knows who they are."

Mr Colville says his office hopes highlighting the issue will force action from the Nauru authorities.

The agency is concerned about a trend of sexual assaults on Nauru and issued a statement calling on Australian and Nauru to urgently provide care and enable a termination for the pregnant woman should she desire it.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs