Australia’s outrage over ‘forced check-ups’ at Doha airport

October 30, 2020


Angry reactions continued in Australia as Qatari authorities subjected dozens of women, including 18 Australian passengers, to a thorough physical examination to reveal whether one of them had given birth to a newborn baby, with the aim of uncovering an attempt to kill a newborn baby found in airport toilets.
A number of Australian MPs announced their boycott of a dinner invitation from the Qatari Embassy in Canberra, scheduled for November 9, which was scheduled to include 19 MPs from the Parliamentary Security and Intelligence Committee.
In a statement carried by Australian media, the mPs said they would not go to the Qatari embassy to attend the dinner because of the mistreatment of Australian women at Doha Airport.
The Qatari government said that “the measures taken urgently with some travelers… Its aim was to prevent the perpetrators and those involved from fleeing and leaving the state.”
Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Khalid Bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz al-Thani ordered an investigation into the incident, and the government liaison office said in a statement that a baby girl was found earlier in a garbage can at the airport hidden in a plastic bag covered in garbage, in what appeared to be a shocking and horrific attempt to kill the child.
A Qatari statement said the results of the investigation into the incident would be discussed with international partners.
In an article published in The Interpreter magazine, Australian foreign affairs writer Daniel Fleeton called for the immediate expulsion of the Qatari ambassador from the Australian capital and the work to prevent Qatar Airways from flying in Australian airspace because of the rude behaviour against Australian women at Hamad Airport.
In the introduction to his article entitled “The trauma of the abuse of women travelling in Doha requires a firm stand”, the author said: “Qatar’s ambassador to Canberra must be ready to return home at short notice. If he wants to use Qatar Airways, that’s fine. But he may also need to tell the pilot that as a result of this terrible scandal involving forced physical examinations of female passengers at Doha International Airport, including 18 Australian women, Qatar Airways will not be welcome in the skies of Australia.”
“What we know so far is that the women were disembarked from at least 10 different aircraft on October 2nd after boarding, and we do not yet know how many or all the women who have undergone this procedure,” he said.
He added: “The targeted women were separated from their escorts to travel without explanation, and according to women who spoke about the incident, they were taken from the plane to an ambulance waiting through the runway, where the door was then closed, they were told to undress, and then they were exposed. Daniel Felton again called for the expulsion of the Qatari ambassador from the country, and said: “The expulsion of qatar’s ambassador to Canberra, Saad Al-Sharif, will be an additional measure that should be on the table, especially if it does not reveal (the transparent investigation into the incident) that Qatar promised immediately and satisfactorily who authorized this shocking decision, offered a clear apology, and provided appropriate compensation to the (affected) women.”
He also called on his country to “mobilize other countries to signal the possibility of further punitive action against Qatar.”
He said: “According to reports, a French woman has been examined, and other citizens may continue to be revealed.”
He said that confidence in Qatar’s pledge that it “remains committed to ensuring the safety, security and comfort of all travellers across the country” needs to be demonstrated, as it must undertake to protect and protect travellers ahead of the FIFA World Cup, where tens of thousands of foreign nationals are expected to attend.
The author discussed the consequences of the actions against Qatar, saying: «It can be a price to pay. At Al-Qudr air base, Qatar hosts the Joint U.S. Air Operations Center to coordinate deployments in the Middle East, and Australian RAAF aircraft fly regularly from there. Qatar is diplomatically isolated from its neighbours but rich, and Australia’s second largest trading partner in the Middle East worth $2.13 billion, with significant investmenthere.”
“If citizens are treated in such a brutal and unreasonable manner, Australia’s anger should not be concealed by diplomatic compliments,” he said.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters on Wednesday in Canberra that Australia’s “strong objections and views” to the incident involving Australian travellers were widely supported, without going into details.
“These are very disturbing events… And degrading. I’ve never heard of anything like this in my life.”
“We have clearly reported our concern to the Qatari authorities at this stage,” she said, noting that the case has also been referred to the Australian Federal Police.
“Other countries affected (the incident) are absolutely in agreement with Australia in its views and the strength of its position,” said Francis Adamson, secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
She added: “This is by no means normal behavior and the Qataris realize that it caused panic… We don’t want it to happen again.”
Australia had learned of the incident through Australian diplomacy on board. Australian diplomacy had not been subject to scrutiny