Refugees attempted suicide after Australia's election

Date: 
May, 2019
Country: 
Australia

A shock Australian election result has sparked a wave of suicide attempts among refugees held in the Manus Island detention center off Papua New Guinea, activists say.

Detainee and activist Behrouz Boochani told CNN at least nine people have attempted suicide since the election results were confirmed on Saturday, with three now in hospital.

Almost 1000 refugees are currently being held in offshore centres in Papua New Guinea and the island of Nauru at the behest of Australia, the country in which they had been attempting to seek asylum. Human rights monitors such as Amnesty International have reported "hellish" conditions, abuses and neglect.

An unexpected election win for the incumbent Liberal National coalition dashed refugees' hopes that a new Labor government would change their circumstances.

Seven cases had occurred on Manus Island and two in Port Moresby on the mainland, but so far no one has died, said Boochani.

Chief Inspector David Yapu, Manus Island Provincial Police Commander, reported different figures, telling CNN that two refugees in Manus attempted to take their own lives over the weekend, one from Iran and one from Iraq.

When asked about the discrepancy between official numbers and his own report, Boochani said that that "police aren't here to know about the cases."

The men involved in the attempts reported by police are now being evaluated by psychiatric professionals, the commander said. He added that their possible clinical depression would be taken into account in pressing charges.

Attempting suicide is a crime in Papua New Guinea, and the detention centers are managed by PNG and Nauru on behalf of Australia.

Port Moresby Police Chief Superintendent Dominic Kakas declined to comment.

Source: CNN