Hundreds of refugees hunger strike on Nauru

AS MORE than 70 asylum seekers were discovered on boats and transferred to Christmas Island on the weekend, hundreds were continuing their hunger strike on Nauru.

Following an Iranian refugee's reported suicide attempt at a Nauru detention centre on Saturday, at least 300 men from varying backgrounds refused to accept meals.

The Refugee Action Coalition claimed the protestors wanted more information from officials on the pacific island about their processing.

On the same day, another group of Sri-Lankan asylum seekers opted to fly home rather than stay on Nauru.

While there were reports from acitivists that up to 25 people had collapsed as a result of the strike, a spokesperson for the Department of Immigration said no-one had required hospital treatment.

The Iranian refugee who sparked the extreme reaction was returned to detention on Sunday.

Late Friday night, two boats - one carrying 63 passengers and the other 12 - were intercepted in Australian waters.

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young suggested the strike was proof the Pacific Solution was already turning refugees to experience "high anxiety and self harm".

Last week, legislation to appropriate $267million to build centres on Nauru and other pacific islands was passed in the Lower House.

At the time of going to press the hunger strike continued.



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