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African asylum seeker sets herself on fire in Australian detention centre

By News Express on 03/05/2016

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A 21-year-old Somali asylum seeker has set herself on fire at an Australian offshore processing centre on the pacific island of Nauru, less than a week after refugee advocates say she was forcibly sent back there.

The woman, named by refugee advocates as Hodan Yasin, is currently in a critical condition, according to Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton. She has been transferred to Australia for medical treatment.

On Sunday, another refugee, named as Omid, died in an Australian hospital after setting himself alight on Nauru two days earlier in the presence of United Nations officials.

Critics say the self-immolations reflect the desperation of refugees living under Australia’s controversial immigration policy.

Asylum seekers who arrive on Australian shores by boat are told they will never settle in the country, and are transferred to remote processing centres on the pacific islands on Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

Hundreds of people, including children, have lived for months or even years in these detention centres.

Immigration Minister Dutton on Tuesday struck out at refugee advocates for “encouraging them to engage in behaviours they believe will pressure the government to bring them to Australia.”

He said that the Australian government would not waiver from its policy, designed to stop refugee boats from coming to its shores and asylum seekers from drowning at sea.

The country’s opposition Immigration Minister, Richard Marles said the government must secure a viable third country to settle refugees in. He said the current government policy was leaving people “desperate and without hope.”

In a statement, the Nauru government said: “We are distressed that refugees are attempting such dreadful acts in order to attempt to influence the Australian Government’s immigration policies.”

•Excerpted from a CNN report. Photo shows Hodan Yasin.

Source News Express

Posted 03/05/2016 11:33:45 AM


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