SULAIMANI – A 25-year-old Kurdish man from Iranian Kurdistan who attempted self-immolation outside UN compound in Erbil one week ago, succumbed to his burns at hospital.
The deceased, Behzad Mahmoudi, along with his fellow protester were refugees from Iranian Kurdistan, commonly known by Kurds as Rojhelat. He suffered more than 90 percent burns.
On May 18, during a protest outside the UN compound in Erbil, Mahmoudi set himself on fire citing the organization’s negligence to address their demands.
One of his friends said the asylum seeker, who lived for four years in the Kurdistan Region, had set himself on fire due to his poor living conditions and inability to provide for himself, reported by Hengaw Human Rights Organization.
Mahmoud was political activist and a member of the Khabat Organization of Iranian Kurdistan.
The self-immolation sparked uproar among other refugees and locals who lashed out at the reporting teams for failing to bar the incident.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said on Thursday (May 20) that it is saddened by the suicide attempt of the Iranian Kurdish refugee.
“UNHCR is following closely with the Department of Health and hospital administration regarding the condition of the asylum-seeker,” UNHCR said
Kurdish refugees from Iran living in the Kurdistan Region are unable to obtain Iraqi citizenship that would allow them to have national rights like voting, land ownership, and passports. Some of them have fled from prosecution in their country of origin.
UNHCR said providing registration and documentation to refugees and asylum seekers will be in accordance with the International Humanitarian and Refugee legal standards.