Nauru Refugee Sets Himself On Fire In Protest, Graphic Images Show

27/04/2016 2:07 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:52 PM AEST
Fairfax Media


A 23-year-old Iranian refugee on Nauru set himself on fire during a protest on Wednesday, as representatives of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees visited the detention facility, with graphic images capturing the incident.

UPDATE 2:30PM: The Nauruan government has announced the man is in critical condition, and an "immediate medical evacuation" has been requested.

"Support and counselling is being offered to witnesses, service providers and those close to the man," a release from the government stated.

EARLIER: The Nauruan government announced the news through its official Twitter account.

"Unfortunately we have seen protests like this during high profile visits, as some from within the refugee community try and influence the Australian Government’s offshore processing policies. Emergency services and medical personnel responded quickly and the person is being treated in hospital for serious burns," a release from the government read.

"Nauru’s new hospital is now open and the patient is receiving excellent medical care, while medical evacuation to Australia is currently being considered. The Government of Nauru continues to urge our refugee community to refrain from such protests for the protection of themselves and others."

"Nauru has invested considerable time and money into services to assist the refugee community socially, emotionally, medically and vocationally, and to ensure all refugees are safe in our country. There is no value in such behaviour."

Fairfax Media obtained video purportedly of the incident, showing the moment the man ignited in flames.


A still from the video, obtained by Fairfax Media

Social media updates from asylum seekers on Nauru, viewed by the Huffington Post Australia, claim the injured man suffered burns to 50 percent of his body. Photos from outside the Nauru hospital show dozens of people milling about, looking worried and upset.

Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton confirmed the news in a press conference, saying medical staff were considering an airlift for the man.

"He's in a very serious condition and the plan is to provide an air lift for him later tonight but he is in a very, very serious condition and his outlook is not good at all. I send our best wishes and condolences in the circumstances to his wife as I understand it, to family otherwise but obviously this is a very confronting situation for those people who were present," he said.

"I understand that there were representatives from the UNHCR on island as part of a regular visit and this is a circumstance which is very unfortunate and we hope that whatever medical assistance can be provided to that individual is provided."

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