Airport’s excuse for examining genitals
The invasive examination of 13 Aussie women from a Qatar Airways flight has been slammed by the foreign minister as "grossly disturbing".
The incident on the Sydney-bound flight unfolded earlier this month when the plane landed for a transit stop in Doha in Qatar and a premature baby was found alive and abandoned in a bathroom at the terminal.
Women at the airport, including 13 Australians, were pulled off the flight and forced to undergo "invasive" medical examinations in that time, 7 News reported.
The women then had their genitalia "invasively examined" without their consent and without being told the reason why.
Foreign Minister Marise Payne said the Australian government had taken up the incident directly with Qatari authorities both in Doha and in Australia.
She said the matter had been reported to Australian Federal Police and information from those affected was still being obtained.
"Australia has taken the occurrence seriously," Ms Payne told reporters on Monday.
"This is a grossly, grossly disturbing, offensive, concerning set of events. It is not something that I have ever heard of occurring in my life.
"We have made our concerns very clear to the Qatari authorities at this point, pending the arrival and availability of their report, and I want to be confident they are very well aware of our views on the matter.
"I want to see the report of what occurred at the airport, and I understand that the Qatari authorities intend to make that available, and then once I have seen that, we will determine the next steps."
Ms Payne said the Australians involved had been provided with appropriate support by officials, including health officials.
A spokesman for Hamad International Airport, where the baby was found, said the child had been abandoned and was immediately provided with care.
In a statement, the airport said medical professionals expressed concern to officials about the health and welfare of the mother and wanted to find her.
The health professionals had requested airport authorities find the mother before she left the airport.
The child is still unidentified and is said to be safe and in the care of medical and social workers.
Originally published as Airport's excuse for examining genitals