Two weeks: Nauru hunger strike, lip stitching protest continues

| March 5, 2013 | Reply

Eight Iranian asylum seekers are into their 15th day with their lips stitched. And between 20 and 30 asylum seekers (including those with stitched lips) are on hunger strikes – around 15 of them for 15 days.

Four hunger strikers are now in Nauru hospital, while another asylum seeker was transferred to Australia more than a week ago.

Daily protests of around 150 asylum seekers are being held by all nationalities in the camp. Yesterday (Monday, 4 March) chants of “We want Freedom,” and “We want justice” could be clearly heard by phone from the detention centre.

Speeches at the protest constantly referred to the victimization of people being sent to Nauru, pointing out that it is a tiny minority who have been discriminated against. Around 10,000 other asylum seekers who have arrived in Australia since 13 August 2012 are lining in the Australian community.

“That victimisation makes the indefinite detention on Nauru that much more difficult to bear,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“A former Minister in the Nauru government has declared that the Nauru government crisis will not stall refugee processing on the island, but the asylum seekers have been given no date for processing to begin. First they were told February – that didn’t happen.

“Now the Minister says processing will begin by the end of March, but the asylum seekers haven’t been told. There are no offices, no office workers, no translators, no assessors. It is a farce. The Nauru government’s strings are being pulled by the Immigration Department,” said Ian Rintoul.

Another mass protest is planned for the detention camp today (Tuesday).

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

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