SYDNEY (Reuters) – A pair of heavily pregnant refugees were refusing to disembark from a bus in the northern Australian city of Darwin for the third day on Monday in protest against attempts to force them into detention for the remainder of their pregnancies.
The women were brought to Australia from the Pacific island nation of Nauru, where Canberra detains asylum seekers to deter them attempting the dangerous boat journey to its territory, often from Indonesia.
Nauru lacks proper medical facilities and the women, who were living freely on Nauru after receiving refugee status, were told that they would be housed in the community, Refugee Action Committee spokesman Ian Rintoul said.
On arriving in Darwin on Saturday, however, they were placed on a bus to be taken to the Wickham Point detention centre, at which point they refused to disembark and enter detention.
Opposition Greens Party Senator Sarah Hanson-Young called the move illegal and said it would inevitably be overturned by the courts.