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US Senate investigates ‘catastrophic failure’ to protect female migrant detainees

A US Senate investigation into allegations that unwanted medical procedures were performed on detained female immigrants in Georgia has uncovered “a catastrophic failure by the federal government” to protect the detainees.

A Senate hearing on Tuesday by the bipartisan permanent subcommittee on investigations (PSI), chaired by the Georgia senator Jon Ossoff, announced its findings on conditions and practices at the Irwin county detention center (ICDC).

The ICDC, located in Ocilla, Georgia, housed detainees who shared accounts of poor treatment including gynaecological procedures that were “excessive, invasive and often unnecessary”. An account of what was occurring at the ICDC first came to light when Dawn Wooten, a nurse at the facility, acted as a whistleblower.

Ossoff called the alleged unnecessary and sometimes non-consensual medical treatment and procedures disclosed in the 18-month investigation “nightmarish and disgraceful”.

Ossoff said: “This is an extraordinarily disturbing finding, and in my view represents a catastrophic failure by the federal government to respect basic human rights.”

The report detailed the harrowing account of an unnamed woman who was detained in the ICDC in 2020. The detainee describes how Dr Mahendra Amin allegedly removed a portion of her fallopian tube, a result of a dilation and curettage procedure she was not made aware of, and how Amin told her “she would never be able to have children naturally again”.

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Source: The Guardian, 15 November 2022


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