Another asylum-seeker sets himself on fire in Aus

2014-06-22 12:00


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Sydney - Australia's immigration minister has described an incident in which an asylum-seeker set himself on fire as "distressing" but said it would not change the way the government handles refugee claims.

Scott Morrison said late on Saturday he was waiting to be briefed about the case.

The Tamil Refugee Council told media it happened on Friday night in a Melbourne home when a 40-year-old Sri Lankan set himself on fire by pouring petrol on his legs and lighting it.

The council said the asylum-seeker, whose name was not released, had minor burns to a leg and was taken to a Melbourne hospital after his housemates intervened and put out the fire.

He was in stable condition and was set to be discharged over the weekend.

The latest incident came just two days after hundreds of mourners gathered at a church in Geelong outside Melbourne for the funeral of 29-year-old Leorsin Seemanpillai, a Sri Lankan asylum-seeker who died on June 1 after setting himself ablaze the day before.

In April another asylum-seeker - also from Sri Lanka - was seriously hurt after setting himself alight in Sydney.

Morrison said that in the latest case, the asylum-seeker was on a bridging (temporary) visa after arriving in Australia by boat.

"This is another distressing incident and I am yet to receive a briefing on the case," he said in a statement.

"It is important that public commentary does not provide an incentive for repetition of these events by other persons who may be vulnerable.

"It is important that such actions, or the threat of such action, has no bearing on a person's asylum claims or the government's policy on the assessment of claims."

While most boatpeople come to Australia via Indonesia, many have also attempted the difficult sea trip direct from Sri Lanka. They claim persecution over the country's Tamil separatist conflict.

Australia has sent back dozens of Sri Lankan nationals who tried to enter the country illegally.

Tamil Refugee Council spokesperson Sri Samy said the man involved in the latest case was like some other Tamil asylum-seekers, who had told her they were fearful of being repatriated and "say they would prefer to die here than be sent back".

More than 24 000 asylum-seekers are living in Australia on bridging visas of the type the asylum-seeker was on, according to the immigration department.

A further 4 016 asylum-seekers are held in detention centres in Australia, including on Christmas Island, and in Papua New Guinea and Nauru.

Under Australia's tough refugee policy, asylum-seekers who arrived by boat after July 2013 have been sent to detention centres on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea or Nauru for processing and permanent resettlement.
Read more on:    sri lanka  |  australia

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Amazing solar inventions!

Solar power is lighting up the world, and not just on rooftops anymore.



Plastic on your plate
Prince George the green prince?
Lean, green, drifiting machine
One man's $1 million vision for an eco Africa

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

It may be hard to maintain a steady rhythm as you find yourself juggling a zillion things. Slow down a little and let go of more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.