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Outrage over ‘compulsory vaginal examination’ at airport

October 27, 2020 Headline News 1 Comment

Legal action may be pending after female airline passengers, including Australians, were allegedly strip-searched and given a compulsory vaginal examination at a Qatari airport.

A premature baby had been found, alive and abandoned, in a terminal bathroom at Hamad International Airport (HIA), Doha. The baby is now said to be safe and well. Qatari authorities were apparently trying to find who the mother was, and were perhaps keen to ensure she didn’t flee the jurisdiction.

All adult female passengers on Qatar Airways flight QR908 (Doha-Sydney) were reportedly ordered off for examination in two ambulances parked at the airport. Two Australian women passengers told ABC News they had no idea what was happening when asked to leave the plane, after a three-hour delay on 2 October 2020.

The women have been in compulsory quarantine since arriving in Australia (standard for all arrivals, unless with special exemption) and although they received counselling during that time, the incident was not reported until Sunday. Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne said she had never heard of such an incident happening before.

The ABC quoted a female passenger who said she was with a group of about six women, who were asked to leave the plane and who grew panicky when they realised they were being taken outside the airport.

The female passenger told the ABC: “When I got in there, and there was a lady with a mask on and then the authorities closed the ambulance behind me and locked it.

“They never explained anything. She told me to pull my pants down and that I needed to examine my vagina.”

The woman said that despite her objections she ended up removing her clothes and was inspected and touched by a female nurse.

Above: A happier feature of Hamad International Airport (HIA) in Doha: Lamp Bear, an artwork by Urs Fischer.


The Australian Government has registered “serious concerns” with Qatar (Qatar the state, that is, not with Qatar Airways; the airline is not suggested to have instigated the incident).

“The Australian Government is deeply concerned at the unacceptable treatment of some female passengers on a recent Qatar Airways flight at Doha Airport,” Marise Payne said.

“The advice that has been provided indicates that the treatment of the women concerned was offensive, grossly inappropriate, and beyond circumstances in which the women could give free and informed consent.

“The Government has formally registered our serious concerns about this incident with Qatari authorities.”

The ABC quoted a statement from Hamad Airport confirming the baby is safe and is receiving medical care.

“At this time, the newborn infant remains unidentified, but is safe under the professional care of medical and social workers,” the statement read.

“Medical professionals expressed concern to officials about the health and welfare of a mother who had just given birth and requested she be located prior to departing HIA [the airport].”

“Individuals who had access to the specific area of the airport where the new born infant was found were asked to assist in the query.”

The mother of the baby has not been located.

An Australian woman who was subjected to the “invasive” search told the ABC she was considering legal action and was also willing to join any class action.

Written by Peter Needham

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. bruce weston says:

    wow and you dont think this would not have occured in any country -Australia included ! — a new baby abondoned in a toilet – only a woman could give birth and planes lined up LEAVING THE COUNTRY !! .Come on some reality here please ! How many other flights were examined ?? 5 10 ?? of course there were a lot more .. What would they have rathered have done – be taken off the flight and delayed forever or a quick – examination ,40 minute IN TOTAL from removal to reboarding all ok and on your way

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