Refugee Advocates Expect More Demonstrations On Nauru

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Different groups in asylum camp ‘united’ in protest

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Oct. 31, 2012) – Refugee advocates in Australia say asylum seekers on Nauru have told them there will be more protests on the island.

Last weekend, as many as 400 people took part in a demonstration demanding to be removed from what they referred to as their "island prison."

Speaking through the Refugee Action Coalition (RAC), they accused the Australian government of damaging their mental health.

The group's spokesman, Ian Rintoul, told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat program that, although he did not have specific details "there is no doubt that there will be more protests."

"The whole camp is united, all the nationalities in the camp are united in protesting against the conditions on Nauru and they've put out their demands."

According to the RAC, the asylum seekers want the Australian government to close its asylum seeker processing centre on Nauru, and to speed up the processing of their claims for refugee status.

Mounting frustration

An excerpt from the statement attributed to the detainees read: "We have been sacrificed to give lesson to those who comes to Australia by boat. This is justice? Transferring of asylum seekers by fraud and force. This is justice? Having no option we prefer to die instead of living in Nauru."

Mr. Rintoul said the island's hot and humid climate, combined with the lack of facilities at the camp, contributed to the asylum seekers' frustration.

Australia's Department of Immigration has criticized the RAC, and put out a statement accusing it of having "actively misinformed the media and the public about many elements of these facilities."

It added that "the RAC's actions are highly disruptive to the good order of the Nauru Regional Processing Centre."

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