More asylum seekers self-harm and hunger strike on Manus Island

Up to five male asylum seekers on Manus Island self-harmed on Sunday night as the unrest in the detention camp continues following the transfer of another 40 single male asylum seekers from Darwin to Manus Island on Saturday.

Three asylum seekers are currently admitted to the medical centre – the Iraqi man who attempted to hang himself on Saturday morning; a man with severe injuries from putting his hand into a fan and another man who collapsed yesterday as a result of his hunger strike.

The protests are causing a high level of distress and anxiety as many of the self harm incidents have bee witnessed by families and children in the camp.

A group of 5 Iranian, 15 Afghani and 25 Iraqis asylum seekers have now declared themselves to be on hunger strike in protest at their illegal transfer to Manus Island.

The asylum seekers are still waiting for an answer to a second letter to the immigration department on 7 January.

“Manus Island should be closed,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, “The idea that it is a fit place to send families and children is absurd. Not only is the Australian government refusing to process claims of asylum seekers asking for protection in Australia, it is deliberately mistreating them by sending them to Manus Island.

“The asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru want to know why there isn’t one law for all asylum seekers who have arrived after 13 August. The vast majority of asylum seekers who arrived after 13 August will live in the Australian community while their claims are processed – conditions that are vastly different from those on Manus Island and Nauru.

“The Minister seems determined to discriminate against a small number of asylum seekers by sending them to hell-holes of Manus Island and Nauru. We are calling on the government to end the discrimination, to apply one rule to all asylum seekers who arrive in Australia and return those presently incarcerated on Manus Island and Nauru to Australia.”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713