3 May 2016

Canberra blames refugee advocates for self-immolations

3:18 pm on 3 May 2016

Australia's Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has singled out refugee advocates after two refugees set fire to themselves on Nauru.

 Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton at Parliament House in Canberra, Tuesday, June 23, 2015.

Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton Photo: AAP

An Iranian man died after setting fire to himself a week ago and a Somali woman is in a critical condition in a Brisbane hospital after self-immolating last night.

In a statement, Mr Dutton said advocates and others in contact with people in Australia's regional processing centres were encouraging them to engage in behaviour which they believe will pressure the government to bring them to Australia.

He said this behaviour had now turned to extreme acts of violence.

"Advocates who proclaim to represent and support the interests of refugees and asylum seekers must frankly hear a very clear message and I'll repeat it again today. Their activities and these behaviours must end, " he said.

"They can oppose government policy and espouse a cause for open borders, but that is not the policy of this Government and no action advocates or those in regional processing countries take will cause the Government to deviate from its course."

Mr Dutton said both patients had received the utmost care in Nauru and in Australia.

21-year-old Hodan Yasin was flown to Brisbane this morning for treatment and Mr Dutton has confirmed she is in a critical condition.

He said all efforts were being made to meet her medical needs.

"We can only hope for the best possible outcome," he said.

More mental health professionals sent to Nauru

Mr Dutton said more mental health professionals were being deployed to Nauru.

Four were deployed last week and another twelve were being sent this week.

He said the Nauru Government and people had been unfairly portrayed by advocates.

"Far from living in the hell-hole advocates would have you believe, refugees in Nauru are free from a fear of persecution and many are building new lives," he said.

"Advocates should reflect on their messages of false hope and misleading portrayal of the situation in Nauru."

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