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.

Continue reading “Nauru: Hunger strike starts as protests spread”

Nauru: first two asylum seekers found guilty of riot are sentenced to jail

5 June: The first two asylum seekers convicted of rioting at the Nauru detention centre have been sentenced to jail.

In July 2013, asylum seekers torched the centre, causing $60m worth of damage. Newly built accommodation blocks, the health centre, offices, the dining room and vehicles were burnt. Only the kitchen and recreation facility remained standing.

Sixty-three asylum seekers face criminal charges stemming from the riots.

On Thursday the Nauru magistrate Ropate Cabealawa sentenced one asylum seeker to two years and five months in jail for unlawful assembly and rioting convictions. The second asylum seeker, convicted of rioting, will serve 11 months at the Nauru correctional centre. Continue reading “Nauru: first two asylum seekers found guilty of riot are sentenced to jail”

Nauru: charges dropped over 2012 riot

26 August: Nauru’s Director of Public Prosecutions has dropped its case against 10 asylum seekers charged with staging a riot at the centre in 2012, that caused more than $A25,000 damage.

The asylum seekers were charged with rioting after an incident at the Australian-run processing and detention centre on Nauru last September.

Two Australian-based lawyers, Simon Kenny and Sam Norton, had been providing representation free of charge for five of the defendants.

“It’s an excellent result for those defendants,” Mr Kenny told . “This means for many of them are able to go on with the process of applying for refugee status.”

Mr Kenny said he believed the case collapsed after witnesses were cross-examined. “We took the view…that the evidence that had been led from witnesses was not looking like it was going to support the case against our clients”, he said.

Nauru: no charges yet over riot because identity papers were destroyed

July 23: Nauru’s resident magistrate says the asylum seekers being held over a mass riot at the country’s detention centre have not yet been charged because their identity papers were destroyed by fire.

Most of the Australian-run centre was burnt to the ground on Friday night, at an estimated cost of $60 million.

Magistrate Peter Law says 152 asylum seekers have been been detained and will start facing court tomorrow. He says he has given police more time to prepare charges because it has been difficult to establish the identity of those involved. “I understand their identity papers were destroyed during the course of the fire,” he said.

The riot began on Friday as a peaceful protest over the slow processing of claims.

But a security guard who does not want to be named says protesters took over the centre, gained access to a kitchen, and armed themselves with knives and steel bars. Buildings were burned to the ground, including accommodation blocks, the health centre and the dining room. Continue reading “Nauru: no charges yet over riot because identity papers were destroyed”

Nauru: riots destroy detention centre

July 21: About 125 people who sought asylum in Australia were in police custody on the Pacific island nation of Nauru after a riot ended with fire destroying most of the Australian-run detention centre there, an official said on Sunday.

The blaze on Friday evening destroyed all the accommodation blocks, medical facilities and offices and caused damage worth an estimated A$60m, the immigration department said. Only the dining and recreation buildings survived. A spokeswoman for the Nauruan government said police were stood down at 5am on Saturday. She said only 10 asylum seekers had not had any involvement in the riots.

The remaining 420 asylum seekers had been transferred to tents at a second detention camp under construction on another part of the tiny atoll, which is home to fewer than 10,000 people, the spokeswoman said. The Nauruan Parliament passed new legislation on Friday night allowing police to hold people without charge for up to seven days. The ringleaders face property damage, destruction of property and riotous behaviour charges, which carry penalties of one to seven years. Continue reading “Nauru: riots destroy detention centre”

Nauru: escape, hunger strike

20 February: On Monday, three people escaped from the detention centre on Nauru. They were were later found by police and returned to detention.

Refugee advocates say four detainees at the Nauru detention centre have resorted to stitching their lips together in protest. The Refugee Action Coalition says more than a dozen detainees have joined a hunger strike, with four asylum seekers stitching their lips together.

The escapees and those on hunger strike are from among the most recent group of arrivals on Nauru, from Iran.

Refugee Action Coalition spokesperson, Nick Reimer, says people are feeling increasingly desperate about their plight. Continue reading “Nauru: escape, hunger strike”

Nauru: Asylum seekers face Nauru court over riot

February 4: A group of Iranian asylum seekers charged with causing tens of thousands of dollars damage to an immigration detention facility in Nauru have had their bail extended.

Fourteen of 15 Iranian men charged over the riot last September made a brief appearance in a Nauru court on Monday. Their lawyer had to fly to Fiji earlier on Monday due to urgent family business, a statement from the government of Nauru said. Continue reading “Nauru: Asylum seekers face Nauru court over riot”

Paris (France): Solidarity action for the migrants’ struggle in Australia

On Sunday January 13th, a dozen people went to Quai Branly Museum, in Paris, where an Aboriginal art exhibition was taking place.

The text below was distributed there as a leaflet and a banner was put at the entrance, blockading the access to the Museum for some time. On the banner, it was written «L’Australie traque et enferme / Vive la révolte / à Nauru comme ailleurs», which means «Australie hunts down and incarcerates / Long live revolt / in Nauru and everywhere».

Besides, at the Museum’s 6th floor, the entrance of «Les Ombres» restaurant (see text below) and the elevator leading to the restaurant were decayed by spurts of a fetid mixture (on the beautiful carpeting!) and a large collection of stinkbombs.

The idea was to express solidarity towards the revolt that exploded on September 30th in the Nauru detention centre. On January 14th, some of the migrants who rose up had to go on trial because of the repression of this revolt. Continue reading “Paris (France): Solidarity action for the migrants’ struggle in Australia”

Nauru: detainess in court over riot

10 December: Sixteen asylum seekers on Nauru appeared at the island’s tiny local court on Monday, accused of causing $24,000 in damage at a riot at the processing centre in September.

Their charges include riot, rioting injuring buildings and wilful damage. Additional charges of common assault were levelled against four men, Nauru government spokesman Rod Henshaw said.

All are being tried under Nauruan law, and the charges carry possible jail terms of up to seven years. Two of the group have voluntarily returned to Iran since the incident.

The group’s last appearance on November 18 was an emotional one, with asylum seekers at first refusing to participate over concerns they would not get a fair trial. Then, the men had refused to leave their bus outside Nauru’s tiny courthouse for two hours after being told they would be represented by a man they had not met, the island’s public defender. Continue reading “Nauru: detainess in court over riot”

Nauru: after 50 days on hunger strike, Omid flown to Australia

Omid, the 35 year-old Faili Kurd hunger striker on Nauru has been put aboard a Careflight plane to be flown from Nauru to Australia.

Omid, was taken by ambulance from the Nauru hospital to meet the Careflight plane which landed and refuelled. He was put on board around 5pm Sydney time.

Omid’s condition is not known. At least another 18 people remain on hunger strike on Nauru, one of them for 30 days.

“We do not know what Omid has been told. From the beginning of his hunger strike he has stated that he wanted Nauru closed and for himself and all the asylum seekers on Nauru to be taken to Australia and processed in Australia,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition. Continue reading “Nauru: after 50 days on hunger strike, Omid flown to Australia”