I would like to begin by expressing my sincere condolences to the friends and family of Omid Masoumali, in particular his wife, after his tragic death on Friday 29 April, writes Fr Maurizio Pettenà, Director of the Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office.
It is of particular concern that, only days later a second person, a young Somali woman by the name of Hodan Yasin, set herself alight on Monday 2 May after being returned from Australia to Nauru. She is now in a critical condition in a Brisbane Hospital.
This is the second occurrence of self-immolation in as many days. We have been exposed to the extreme end to which the hopelessness of detention can lead to. It is becoming more and more clear that the mental health of those left in limbo as a result of ongoing detention and a lack of resolution as to their immigration status is deteriorating at an alarming rate.
It is my concern that the dignity of the human person is increasingly lowered among the priorities when discussing policy around refugees and asylum seekers. At a time where mental health is more and more at the forefront of the psyche of our communities, it is alarming that people placed in the ‘care’ of Australia in places of detention are left to spiral into hopelessness. Continue reading