CNN affiliate Seven News reported that 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.”
“Reports indicate that the treatment of the women concerned was offensive, grossly inappropriate, and beyond circumstances in which the women could give free and informed consent,” an Australian Government spokesperson told CNN.
The flight, Sydney-bound Qatar Airways Flight QR 908, landed for a transit stop in Doha, Qatar, on October 2, CNN affiliate Nine News reported.
Hamad International Airport confirmed an abandoned newborn baby was found at the airport on October 2, adding that medical professionals were concerned “about the health and welfare of a mother who had just given birth and requested she be located prior to departing (the airport).”
Airport authorities are still searching for the mother, but the newborn is “safe under the professional care of medical and social workers.”
Speaking on Monday, Australian Foreign Minister Marisa Payne said it was “not something I have ever heard of occurring in my life in any context.”
“This is a grossly, grossly disturbing, offensive, concerning set of events… We have made our views very clear to the Qatari authorities on this matter,” she said at a press conference in Canberra.
Payne added that a report has been submitted to Australian Federal Police (AFP)
In a response to CNN, the AFP said that it was aware of the matter and was liaising with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
“It would not be appropriate to comment any further,” spokesperson for the AFP said.