Australia Admits Manus Asylum Seekers Conducted Hunger Strike

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PNG, Nauru refugee camps both seeing protests

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 29, 2013) – Australian immigration officials have confirmed that a number of asylum seekers at the Australian-run detention camp on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea have been on hunger strikes this month.

Eight asylum seekers went on a five-day hunger strike in protest at charges of fighting and assault levelled at them by PNG police, following a series of alleged incidents at the temporary facility on Lombrum Naval base.

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship said on Thursday that one person is still believed to be still refusing to eat.

The hunger strikers are part of a group of 18 detainees that PNG police had charged in February with fighting and assault following a series of disputes at the camp.

Manus provincial police commander Alex Ndrassal says the hunger strike ended after police went to the camp and explained to the detainees why they had been charged.

Asylum seekers on Nauru have recently staged hunger strike and lip-stitching protests to protest at their being detained away from the Australian mainland.

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