Nauru-bound asylum seekers on hunger strike

August 25, 2012

Asylum seekers

Asylum seekers are transferred to the island. Picture: Daniel Wilkins Source: Herald Sun

ASYLUM seekers at Christmas Island’s detention centre are refusing food in protest at plans to transfer them outside Australian territory for their claims to be processed.

A Department of Immigration spokesman told AAP some detainees had skipped meals but he was unable to confirm media reports of a large-scale hunger strike.

“There are people who have missed meals,” the spokesman said today.

He stressed any hunger strike action would not influence offshore processing plans.

“Anything these people can do will not change government policy,” he said.

“We continue to work with them and advise them on the situation, but this (the plan for transfers) is happening.”

Fairfax Media reports that 238 people from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and Sri Lanka, including 40 women and children, had been informed on Friday that they would be sent to Nauru for processing and deported to their home countries if they did not cooperate.

One Afghan asylum seeker told Fairfax he had begun refusing food on August 16, after arriving by sea from Indonesia two days earlier.

Federal parliament recently passed legislation to allow offshore processing of asylum seekers who arrive by boat.

An independent panel recommended the government urgently restart offshore processing on Nauru and Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island.

Greens immigration spokeswoman Sarah Hanson-Young said a large cohort of men were refusing meals.

“It is extremely concerning that Labor’s new Pacific Solution is already turning refugees to experience high anxiety and self-harm,” she told AAP.

“It is understandable why people are terrified by the prospect of being dumped indefinitely in detention on Nauru.”

She said sending asylum seekers to Nauru and Manus Island was “inhumane and will only hurt them even more”.

A spokesman for Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said the minister would not comment on Immigration Department operational matters.



1 Comment

Filed under Detention Centers, PNG/Pacific Solution, Torturing and Health Issues

One response to “Nauru-bound asylum seekers on hunger strike

  1. Di

    What’s inhumane is Aussies living on the streets to accommodate illegal immigrants There is a seven year waiting list for accommodation in Victoria alone but not if your an illegal immigrant . Illegal immigrants don’t have to wait to be housed,don’t have to wait to see a doctor,dentist or mental health worker ,getting free food ,smokes and clothing as well as phones and credit… what about the mental health of Australians who have to wait in line for all these things because of queue jumpers… NOBODY HAS EVEN TOUCHED ON THAT AREA.. I think it’s disgusting the way the Government and the UN is pushing Aussies to the back of the queue in favour of illegal immigrants.

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