Iranian refugee dies of apparent suicide in Nauru camp

This is the twelfth person to die while being held in the two offshore detention centres Australia sends refugees to.

Nauru suicide
Nauru is home to one of two offshore detention centres where Australia has been sending refugees [David Gray/Reuters]

A 26-year-old Iranian refugee has died in a prison camp on the island of Nauru after an apparent suicide.

According to human rights organisation Refugee Action Coalition, the man’s body was found on Saturday morning inside his family tent in the RCP3 detention centre.

He is the twelfth person to die in Australian offshore detention and the fifth asylum seeker to die on Nauru.

Apart from the man’s wife, his severely ill mother and a 12-year-old brother are also being held on


Based on a medical report by Australia’s International Health and Medical Services, the man suffered from severe depression after being held in detention in Iran when he was 10 years old.

The death once again highlights the dire conditions refugees endure when dealing with Australia’s strict immigration policies. 

Under those policies, asylum seekers attempting to reach the country by boat are intercepted and sent to one of two offshore detention centres.

The camp in Nauru is home to women, children and families, while the other one, on the Papua New Guinean island of Manus, houses single men.

In total, about 1,600 people are currently being held in the two camps.

“There are 100s of people in urgent need of medical care to address complex conditions including major depression and suicidal ideation, who are being denied care under the Minister,” Natascha Bucher, detention advocacy manager for the NGO Asylum Seeker Resource Center, said in a statement. 

The death comes two weeks after a Rohingya refugee committed suicide on Manus. 


Behrooz Boochani, an Iranian refugee and journalist held captive on Manus, said on Twitter the Australian authorities were responsible for the death, despite Australia referring the case to the Nauru authorities.

In 2016, an Iranian man was fined $155 for attempted suicide, a criminal offence in Nauru.

The man, the sole guardian of his eight-year-old daughter in the detention centre, pleaded guilty to the offence of attempted suicide, according to a Nauru government statement.

The Nauru government said prosecutors wanted to “deter other would-be offenders who resort to self-harm to avoid lawful actions against them or to get what they want”.

Source: Al Jazeera