Asylum seeker dies after self-immolation in Australian camp

Story highlights

23-year-old man had set himself on fire on Wednesday

He'd been held in the Australian detention center on Nauru for years

CNN  — 

An Iranian asylum seeker has died two days after setting himself alight in an Australian detention center on the remote Pacific island of Nauru.

The 23-year-old man was first treated at Nauru Hospital before being flown by air ambulance Brisbane, Australia, where he died in hospital from his injuries, according to a statement from Australia’s immigration department.

“Appropriate support is being provided to his wife and friends,” the statement said.

The man, named as Omid, had been held for three years in the Australian center on Nauru, according to the Asylum Seeker Resource Center.

The camp is one of two offshore centers where asylum seekers are detained while their claims are processed. The other one is on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

Earlier this week, the PNG government announced that the Manus Island detention center would be shut down after the country’s Supreme Court ruled that it was illegal.

Around 900 men are currently being held on the island, while around 300 families, including dozens of children are being held on Nauru.

An inquiry by the Australian government’s own human rights commission in 2014 concluded that “children on Nauru are suffering from extreme levels of physical, emotional, psychological and developmental distress.”

Campaigners have urged the Australian government to close the centers and transfer the detainees to Australia.

The government imposed its policy of offshore detention after a sharp rise in the number of boats crammed with asylum seekers arriving in Australian waters.

Between 2007 and 2013, the Australian government says at least 1,200 people lost their lives trying to make the treacherous sea journey. It says that its strict immigration policy is saving lives.