Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton speaks to the media during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Tuesday, May 3, 2016. Dutton says the government won't be dissuaded from its tough border protection policies despite another self-harm incident.
Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton speaks to the media during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Tuesday, May 3, 2016. Dutton says the government won't be dissuaded from its tough border protection policies despite another self-harm incident. AAP Image - Lukas Coch

Minister blames refugee advocates for self-harm on Nauru

REFUGEE groups have called for an end to offshore processing after a second self-immolation on Nauru in less than a week.

Just days after Iranian asylum seeker Omid Masoumali died in a Brisbane hospital after setting himself alight, a 21-year-old female Somalian refugee set herself on fire on Monday.

She was in a serious condition in the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital yesterday after being airlifted to Australia.

Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce executive officer Misha Coleman said the off-shore detention centre policy was costing lives.

"People are not seeking attention - they are trying to end their lives," she said.

"After years on Nauru, with absolutely no end in sight, their depression is so acute that ending their lives appears to them to be their only 'resettlement option'.

"There are other options, Prime Minister.

"No other country in the world has a policy as cruel as this."

A statement from the Nauruan Government said the asylum seekers were trying to influence Australian policy by setting themselves on fire.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said he believed refugee advocates were encouraging detainees to "behave in a certain way" to protest government policies.

"It is of grave concern that this person would resort to such an extreme act of self-harm," he said.

"I have previously expressed my frustration and anger at advocates and others who are in contact with those in regional processing centres and who are encouraging them to engage in behaviours they believe will pressure the government to bring them to Australia.

"These behaviours have intensified in recent times and, as we see, have now turned to extreme acts with terrible consequences."

Shadow immigration minister Richard Marles said the self-immolation was "deeply distressing".

"That this is the second incident of this kind to take place within a week is a clear sign there is something wrong with how the Australian Government is managing its offshore processing network," he said.



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