An Iranian refugee being detained on Manus Island has died today. Reports from local police suggest the man may have died by suicide.
Former Manus MP Ron Knight tweeted the following this afternoon:
A refugee has hung himself behind loreast centre. Is this what dutton wants? Shame
— Ron Knight (@pontuna2run) August 7, 2017
Others on the island have said that the man who died had been unwell for some time. He had reportedly spent time in jail recently after suffering a breakdown, and was found wandering the streets naked after his release. The man’s identity has not yet been revealed.
Imran Mohammed, a refugee from Myanmar, told the Sydney Morning Herald that the other refugees learned of the man’s death this morning, saying “It was so devastating for all [of] us.”
A refugee passed away in #Manus island. He was very sick for long time but Australia did not provide medical treatment for him.
— Behrouz Boochani (@BehrouzBoochani) August 7, 2017
Doctors for Refugees, an advocacy group, told Fairfax that the man’s death was “another preventable tragedy“.
This is an emergency. The Australian government must act to protect these innocent men.
Amnesty International Australia has echoed these sentiments, with refugee co-ordinator Graham Thorn saying, “Australia must accept liability for the damage its cruel policies are causing refugees“.
Seven people have now died while in immigration detention on Manus Island and Naura since 2014. The others are Reza Barati, who was murdered during a riot, Omid Masoumali, who set himself on fire on Nauru, Kamil Hussain, who drowned at Manus Island, Hamid Khazaei and Faysal Ahmed, who both died after being transferred from Manus Island to Brisbane for hospital treatment, and a Bangladeshi man who remains unidentified, who is suspected to have died by suicide.
The Manus Island detention centre will be shut down by October 31, and tensions, including ongoing peaceful protests, have reportedly been rising in recent weeks as electricity and water starts to be cut off. Refugees are reportedly being encouraged to relocate to a transit centre in Lorengau, with little success.