A Sri Lankan refugee has died in Australia’s offshore detention regime, with a man found dead, apparently by suicide, on Manus Island, the Guardian reported.
The body of the man, whose name the Guardian has chosen not to publish at the request of his family, was found on the grounds of the Lorengau hospital, where he had been sent after a previous suicide attempt.
The man was a Sri Lankan Tamil and had been formally recognised as a refugee, and was legally owed protection. Staff on the island said he had been acutely mentally ill for months.
Fellow refugee on the island Abdul Aziz Adam said: “Three days ago he attempted to kill himself but his friends save[d] him … they took him to the hospital. But unfortunately there’s not enough medical care and this morning the nurse and doctors confirmed that he … [was found dead] next to kitchen.
“It has really affected us all very badly. Everyone around me is crying, this is the worst moment.”
Another refugee, Ezatullah Kakar, said on social media: “We lost one more brother today.”
The death has been confirmed by Papua New Guinea police. The Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection has been contacted for comment.
At least six people have died in Australia’s offshore detention regime on Manus Island alone, including several who were brought to Australia critically unwell and died in the country. At least three have died on Australia’s other detention island of Nauru.
The last death was another suspected suicide, that of Iranian refugee Hamed Shamshiripour, whose body was found near a school in August.
Shamshiripour had also been suffering acute mental illness for more than a year, and his deteriorating condition had been consistently raised with senior IHMS and Australian Border Force officials, with pleas for intervention.
Ian Rintoul from the Refugee Action Coalition said authorities on Manus Island were unable to assist refugees who were physically or mentally unwell after four years in detention.
“This death is criminal neglect. The evacuation of Manus and Nauru is now a more urgent priority.”
In June, the Australian government agreed to pay $70m in compensation to refugees held on Manus Island for their illegal detention in dangerous and damaging conditions. (Colombo Gazette)