Iranian migrant self-immolates during UN visit to Australian camp


A 23-year-old Iranian asylum-seeker was in a serious condition after setting himself alight in an Australian-run processing centre on the Pacific island nation of Nauru, officials said on Wednesday. Footage shows the man shouting, "I can not take this any more" before setting himself on fire.

Bystanders then rush to douse the flames with water and blankets. Officials from the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR were on the island to see conditions of the detainees. It was not clear whether the man set himself on fire in front of them.

"The condition of the male refugee is listed as critical and we have requested an immediate medical evacuation," the Nauruan government said in a statement.

Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said the victim would be airlifted from Nauru for medical treatment on Wednesday night. But he warned that the man's actions would not influence his application for asylum.

"If people think that through action of self-harm or harming a member of their family, that is going to result in them coming to Australia and staying here permanently, that will not be the outcome," Dutton told reporters in Melbourne.

The Nauruan government condemned the attempt to "influence the Australian government's offshore processing policies," asking migrants to "refrain from such protests."

Australia intercepts all migrants travelling by sea and processes their claims offshore in the Pacific island state of Nauru and in Papua New Guinea. It has also said none of those granted asylum will ever be resettled in Australia, but rather in third countries.

There were 1,459 asylum seekers in such facilities last year.

On Tuesday the Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea ruled that the Australian-run migrant camp on the country's Manus Island was illegal and asked the two governments to close it down.     (dpa)

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