The Australian government has registered “serious concerns” with Qatar about an incident in which female passengers, including Australians, were taken off a flight bound for Australia and subjected to an invasive search.
The incident occurred earlier in October at Hamad International Airport after staff discovered an infant, described as a premature baby, “abandoned” in the terminal bathroom.
Women at the airport, including 13 Australians, were allegedly removed from flights, detained and forced to undergo an inspection in an ambulance on the tarmac.
Qatari authorities allegedly forced the women to remove their underwear, before their genitals were invasively examined, without their consent. None were told about the newborn before the strip searches began.
An Australian Government spokesperson told 7NEWS that it is “deeply concerned” at the “unacceptable treatment of some female passengers on a recent Qatar Airways flight at Doha Airport”.
“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.
A foreign affairs spokesperson said on Sunday: “The Australian government is aware of concerning reports regarding the treatment of female passengers, including Australian citizens, at Doha (Hamad) airport in Qatar.
“We have formally registered our serious concerns regarding the incident with Qatari authorities and have been assured that detailed and transparent information on the event will be provided soon.”
The matter is being handled by Foreign Minister Marise Payne.