Nauru hunger strike – seven days; Solidarity protests in four cities Thursday

| November 7, 2012 | Reply

The mass hunger strike by asylum seekers on Nauru enters its seventh day today with around 300 people refusing food. The latest statement from the hunger strikers is pasted below.

Refugee groups have called solidarity protests for Thursday, 8 November in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, and Darwin (details below). The Sydney protest plans to make phone contact with the hunger strikers on Nauru at the rally.

Around 10 of the hungers strikers required medical attention yesterday (Tuesday), but the figures for Wednesday were unknown.

Unconfirmed reports say that up to 50 the asylum seekers stopped drinking after midday yesterday.

There are also mounting concerns at the health of the Iranian who is now in the 27th day of his hunger strike. Asylum seekers on Nauru say he is very thin and getting weaker. “He stands for 10minutes, not more,” one asylum seeker told the Refugee Action Coalition.

A Red Cross delegation visiting Nauru met with the protesting asylum seekers yesterday (Tuesday). It seems they are on a fact-finding mission and to meet with representatives of the Nauruan government. They told the asylum seekers, “We cannot do anything about the Nauru or the PNG law. But we can send your message to the Australian and the Nauru governments.”

“We remain extremely concerned with the deteriorating conditions on Nauru,” said Ian Rintoul, from the Refugee Action Coalition. “The asylum seekers are in a desperate situation. They feel they have nothing to lose. Over 6000 asylum seekers have arrived in Australia since 13 August. Dumping 377 asylum seekers on Nauru has done nothing but put their mental and physical health at risk. It is a disgraceful abuse of human rights for them to be victimised for coming to Australia to seek protection. It is no crime to seek asylum.”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

Solidarity Protests – Thursday 8 November

Sydney: Department of Immigration, 22 Lee Street, Sydney (near Central Station), 12.30pm

Melbourne: Department of Immigration, cnr Lonsdale and Spring Sts City, 12.30pm (Contact Chris: 0403 013 183)

Perth: 12.30pm DIAC office, 836 Wellington St, West Perth

Darwin: Darwin Airport Lodge Vigil, Thursday 8 November, 5:30pm

LETTER FROM ASYLUM SEEKERS OF AUSTRALIA ACCOMMODATED IN NAURU

Dated 6/11/2012,

We asylum seeker of Australia after too much difficulty and risk to our life [in our country] arrived to Australia to seek asylum. Uunfortunately, we were shifted to Nauru.

It is almost two months; we are living here with very basic needs of life.

Till now we are waiting for our asylum claims and we are hearing different answers.

Last time when the immigration minister visited here he said your process will be started after seven or eight months and it will take years. In case of rejection you will be deported to your country. If you want to go back to your country IOM is present here to help you.

In a meeting held on 3/11/2012 with the DIAC explained us that in the end of November we will start the project of a permanent detention centre and your process will be start in six months and we were told, “I have no answer how long you will be here.”

For constructing a camp which includes all the infrastructure and accommodation, including electricity and rest of the facilities in a faraway Island which is located in the last point of the world’s map. Even the drinking water will have to be taken from Australia which is also faraway from Australia. How much time the project will take?

The number of asylum seekers who had been arrived after 13th of august to Australia are almost six thousands and number are increasing constantly.

Only 380 asylum seekers have been transferred to Nauru. How is it possible to transfer more than six thousand peoples to two small islands when no camp has been built? How long we have to stay till the camp is prepared. Is this possible?

Is the sending of 380 asylum seekers to teach other [asylum seekers] not to come to Australia, otherwise you will be treated in the same manner.

Can human rights re respected when innocent and helpless asylum seekers are being punished for others?

The moral of 45 days of protest and the sixth day of hunger strike is that we need help.

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