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March 6, 2021
News

Manus Refugees on Hunger Strike

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by Allanah Leahy – EM TV Online

More than 100 asylum seekers detained on Manus Island have reportedly gone on hunger strike, The Guardian reports.

Detainees told news media website The Guardian Australia that they fear of being attacked should they be forced into the Papua New Guinea community. 

Detainees also told The Guardian Australia that at least 50 men in the detention centre’s Mike Compound are refusing food. Other compounds are believed to be on hunger strike, as well as 100 other asylum seekers throughout the Manus detention centre.

“All of the nationalities [are involved]; we will only stop when we have freedom,” a detainee said. He further said that asylum seekers were in protest of their detainment – in squalid conditions – for over 15 months.

He also voiced fears of being forcibly expelled from the detention centre as detainees regularly receive threats from guards that they will be attacked released. The unresolved death of Reza Barati last February has also added to the fear and unease.

“They killed our friend Reza Barati and they will kill us,” a detainee said.

They said the hunger strike follows a weekend of unrest in which several men broke into and trashed the main kitchen of the detention centre’s Foxtrot compound. The men were reportedly not stopped by security or arrested by police. A Twitter post from Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection however denied any disturbance.

“Reports of a disturbance at the Manus Offshore Processing Centre are false,” the Tweet read.

Detainees and staff on the island told The Guardian Australia that the disturbance did take place; reports of no water for showers and toilets were also made on Tuesday. 

Th hunger strike follows an early December protest by four detainees – two Iranian, one Iraqi and one Lebanese – who sewed their lips shut over their delayed stay at the detention centre.

The hunger strike follows an early December protest by four detainees – two Iranian, one Iraqui and one Lebanese – who sewed their lips shut over their delayed stay at the detention centre. The Sydney Morning Herald reported another early December protest detailing 250 asylum seekers who went on hunger strike over the same reason. 

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