On October 2nd something horrible happened. A premature baby girl was found alive in a bin at a Qatar airport. The newborn was concealed in a plastic bag and, it’s presumed, left for dead.
The thought of this alone is pretty horrific – that poor newborn deserved so much better. But what happened next really shocked the world.
In an attempt to uncover who the mother of the newborn was, the Qatar Government began pulling women off flights and performing vaginal exams to see if they could have recently given birth.
Although the newborn was born nearly a month ago, the story is still unfolding. Here’s what we know so far.
Search for mother of abandoned newborn in Qatar airport
According to media outlets, authorities forced these women to remove their underwear and undergo a non-consensual medical examination in an ambulance on the tarmac.
Of the 23 women who were strip-searched in the back of an ambo, 18 were Australian.
While the government explained that the aim of the urgent search was to find the mother of the child before she was able to fly out, they are now admitting that it was not the right thing to do.
In a recent statement, authorities said,
This was the first instance of an abandoned infant being discovered in such a condition at HIA [airport]– this egregious and life-threatening violation of the law triggered an immediate search for the parents, including on flights in the vicinity of where the newborn was found.
While the aim of the urgently-decided search was to prevent the perpetrators of the horrible crime from escaping, the State of Qatar regrets any distress or infringement on the personal freedoms of any traveler caused by this action.”
Here are the facts about this Qatar airport newborn situation so far:
What we know
- Qatar government said the mother delivered the baby on her own in the toilets at Doha’s main airport.
- Paramedics found the baby, alive in the bin and concealed in a plastic bag.
- Authorities are calling the act attempted murder.
- The baby was said to be born premature but is now safe and well.
- She is in the care of social workers in Qatar.
What we still don’t know
- Qatar authorities still haven’t confirmed that they have found the mother of the newborn.
- While there is CCTV footage of paramedics with the newborn baby, it hasn’t been confirmed that there is actual footage of the birth, allegedly in the toilets at the airport.
- The government state that they will share all information with international partners soon.
Scott Morrison spoke out about it earlier this week, condemning the actions of Qatar officials.
It was appalling. As a father of daughters, I could only shudder at the thought that anyone would, Australian or otherwise, be subjected to that.”- Scott Morrison
What happens next?
For the 23 women who were assaulted, what now? Do they just forget this happened to them or do they fight? Should they file a class-action lawsuit against this sexual harassment? Would they win if they did?
According to lawyer Nick Kaufman, a class action lawsuit isn’t the best option. He said accepting compensation, if offered, would be the better choice.
Most lawyers would advise women against pursuing their claim in Qatar.
Qatar is a patriarchal society and the very existence of the laws – the enforcement of which led to this disgraceful incident – suggests that the women’s chances of success in pursuing civil compensation in a Qatari court would be less than elsewhere in the world.”
What a horrific situation for all involved. We can only hope these women receive some sort of justice for this harsh treatment and the Qatar airport newborn receives the love and care she deserves.
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