March 28, 2013
Asylum seekers at Manus Island detention centre are on hunger strike, authorities say.
A NUMBER of asylum seekers at the Australian-run Manus Island detention centre have spent the past week on hunger strike, authorities say.
Eight asylum seekers went on a five-day hunger strike in protest at charges of fighting and assault levelled at them by PNG police, following a series of alleged incidents at the temporary facility on Lombrum Naval base.
One person is still believed to be still refusing to eat, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) said on Thursday.
“There are indications that one remaining person is still on voluntary starvation, but they may have taken food and water recently although this has not been confirmed,” a spokesperson said.
The hunger strikers are part of a group of 18 detainees PNG police have charged with fighting and assault following a series of disputes at the centre.
DIAC says only 16 detainees were charged.
Manus provincial police commander Alex Ndrassal said police entered the site on March 21 to explain to the detainees why they had been charged.
“We went to explain to them the arrest situation and PNG law, and how PNG police do their work,” Insp Ndrassal told AAP.
Inspector Ndrassal said the hunger strike ended after police spoke to the group.
Police charged the group last month but the matter has yet to come before the courts.
Asylum seekers on Nauru have recently staged hunger strike and lip-stitching protests to protest at Australia’s offshore processing policy.
Refugee activists earlier this month said there were water shortages at the base.
Added: HazaraAsylumSeekers can confirm that all the asylum-seekers on hunger strike are ethnic Hazaras. An asylum seekers who wishes not to be named has told Team HAS that, 10 Hazara asylum-seekers have been on hunger strike from 21st of March to protest the baseless charges leveled against them. He further said that on March 21, an Iranian asylum seeker attempted to commit suicide by hanging himself in his room, but was hindered by fellow asylum seekers and admitted to hospital. Authorities, in an attempt to conceal the ‘suicide attempt’ which would otherwise have sparked another debate and posed questions on Government’s failed policy, charged Hazara asylum-seekers to sweep that incident under the carpet and save their faces. G4S guards have also conceded that many of the ‘charged’ asylum seekers were not even present in the compound at the time of quarrel.
(Unconfirmed) Names of Sixteen Asylum Seekers charged by PNG Police, ten of whom had staged hunger strike:
- Javeed Raza
- Mehmod Ali
- Ewaz Ali
- Irfan Ali
- Nazeer Hussain
- Syed Ali Raza
- Habbib Ullah
- Mohammad Tabish
- Ali Raza
- Mohammad Ali
- Haji Dawood
- Mohammad Raza
- Gholam Mohammad
- Sardar Mohammad
- Mohammad Hanif