Refugee Fighting For Life After Setting Herself Alight On Nauru, Days After Fellow Refugee Omid's Death

02/05/2016 8:58 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:52 PM AEST
Supplied/Fairfax Media

A Somali refugee remains in a critical condition after setting fire to herself at the Nauru detention centre -- the second person to do so in three days.

The woman, identified by a refugee advocacy group as Hadon, is currently being treated at the Republic of Nauru hospital. Emergency evacuation to Australia was requested on Monday.

The 21-year-old had been returned to Nauru just last Wednesday, having been sent to Australia for medical treatment following a motorbike accident.

The news comes just three days after fellow refugee, Omid Masoumali, died of his injuries after setting himself on fire during a visit by UNHCR representatives to inspect conditions on the island. It has been reported that he took this step after being told that he would remain in Nauru.

Medical care of refugees on the island has since come under fire, after it emerged that the medivac sent to evacuate the man to Australia took over 24 hours to arrive.

nauru omid protest

Four days after the death of refugee Omid Masoumali in a Brisbane hospital, refugees continue to protest at the fence of the Nauru detention centre.

When asked about the incident on Tuesday, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said he would not comment on specific cases but accused refugee support groups of providing false hope and encouraging harmful actions, but did not detail what those actions were.

"I repeat the call to advocates today that their intentions may be honourable and they may be noble in their own minds but they are causing serious harm. We won't tolerate that situation," Dutton said in a press conference.

"...People offering false hope to those people in a very desperate situation, might make the advocates feel well about themselves but it is putting people in a very difficult situation on Nauru and those acts frankly should be condemned."

In a statement, the Government of Nauru said the woman was suffering critical injuries and was being treated by four emergency doctors at the Nauran hospital.

They also criticised what they labelled the attempts to self-harm as "protests [to] influence the Australian government and possibly help them gain entry to Australia".

"Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru enjoy the same freedoms on Nauru as local Nauruan citizens, but have better facilities," the statement read.

"Refugees and asylum seekers are not distressed due to their conditions. Their conditions are better than most other refugee camps across the world.

"These actions are purely and simply being taken because they believe that political protests will influence the Australian government."

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young, however, told the ABC Nauru’s conditions were inhumane.

"That's why they're taking these awful, awful events into their own hands," she told the ABC.

"If you strip people of humanity, of dignity, of all hope, they become terribly, terribly depressed, distressed and, in this case, do terrible things to themselves.

"I don't want anyone having to resort to self-harm."

Refugee Action Coalition spokesman, Ian Rintoul, said Hadon was brought to Australia in November last year after suffering a serious head injury and that people who knew her did not believe she had recovered from the injury.

"This is another self-harm attempt that is Peter Dutton's responsibility," said Rintoul.

"A vulnerable young woman who needed protection was a victim of a spiteful removal. She has been sent to the toxic environment that the Minister has created on Nauru. Tragically this was entirely predictable."

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