Nauru: Hunger strike starts as protests spread

6 October, RAC: The protests by asylum seekers and refugees on Nauru that began on Thursday 25 August are continuing, and have now spread to the single men’s camp, OPC 2.

The daily protests inside the family camp show no sign of slowing down. Every evening, between 300 and 500 asylum seekers gather to protest against proposed Australian government policy that would see them left doubly discriminated against and facing a life sentence on Nauru.

Around 90 asylum seekers, mostly Burmese, Bangladeshi and Iranian, have been on hunger strike for the last three days (ie since Saturday 4 October). Hundreds are maintaining a 24 hour protest and vigil at the gates of OPC 2.

Yesterday, Sunday 5 October, around 60 of those found to be refugees held another demonstration in front of the Save the Children offices.

The refugees have rejected Morrison’s claims that Save the Children workers have been involved in coaching asylum seekers to make false complaints or encourage self-harm. “The government accuses everyone, to try and save themselves,” RAC was told.

Under the proposed temporary protection visa legislation, asylum seekers who arrived on the same boats as those sent to Nauru and Manus Island, will be processed and resettled in Australia.

The asylum seekers have been enraged by recent Immigration Department promises to improve the conditions, such as food and water, in the family camp. “They think they can deceive us,” one asylum seeker told the Refugee Action Coalition, “It is hypocrisy to say they are improving services while denying our future.”

Yesterday, the immigration department sent extra food to the refugee camp to celebrate Eid. But the refugees refused the offer and sent the food back.Meanwhile the unaccompanied minors released from the family detention camp after protests and self-harm incidents inside the camp, have been warned by the immigration department not to become involved in any protests outside the detention camp.


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