Bangladeshi refugee dies on Pacific island of Nauru, prompting more criticism of Australia's asylum policy

SYDNEY (AFP) - A young Bangladeshi refugee has died on the Pacific island of Nauru, the second death in a month, prompting critics on Wednesday (May 11) to again urge Australia to stop sending asylum-seekers offshore.

The immigration department said the 26-year-old died "from suspected heart failure".

"The man admitted himself to the Republic of Nauru Hospital on May 9 complaining of chest pains," it said in a statement. "He was receiving ongoing treatment in hospital, but died early today after a series of cardiac arrests."

The Refugee Action Coalition claimed it was a suicide, with the man taking an overdose of tablets, including a large amount of painkillers, ahead of his hospitalisation.

"(His) friends say his suicide was driven by the same desperation as others on Nauru. There is no future," the coalition said.

Australia sends all boatpeople to Papua New Guinea and Nauru - where two refugees recently set themselves on fire - and insists they settle there or return home.

Earlier this month a 21-year-old Somali woman set herself on fire on Nauru, just days after an Iranian man died in a similar act of self-harm. The woman was airlifted in a critical condition to a Brisbane hospital.

Advocacy group GetUp! said the Bangladeshi man had been on Nauru for more than two years, and was found to be a refugee, after arriving as an asylum seeker.

"In the past two weeks two people have set themselves on fire on Nauru, including one man who has died," spokesman Matthew Phillips said.

"It is time to bring those who have been unlawfully and cruelly detained to safety in our communities."

Since 2013, Australia has denied people arriving in the country by boat any chance of settling here, even if found to be refugees, sending them instead to offshore camps criticised by rights groups.

Nauru has since converted its detention facility into an "open centre" in which inhabitants have freedom of movement, while Papua New Guinea's government has said it will close its centre after a court found it to be unconstitutional.