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Greens express sadness at asylum seeker self-harm

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 11 Apr 2014

Greens Senator for NSW Lee Rhiannon and Balmain MP Jamie Parker have expressed their sadness at news that a Sri Lankan man has self-harmed in Sydney.

“This desperate act highlights the need for Australia to end its cruel policy of sending people back to the regimes they are fleeing”, Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon said today.

She was responding to reports that the man set himself on fire in Balmain after being denied refugee status.

“This man left Sri Lanka because of threats from authorities. Clearly he was devastated that he could not remain in Australia and he fears being sent back to Sri Lanka.

“Time and time again, Australia has sent people back to dangerous situations and turned a blind eye when they go on to face discrimination, torture, and death,” she said.

Mr Parker said that yesterday’s events were avoidable.

“This is a tragedy, and a reminder of the damage that our system can inflict on people who are already vulnerable,” Mr Parker said.

“It is shameful that our system can drive people to actions like these. 

“Our thoughts are with him, and his friends and family.”

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