“Hunger strikers at Australia’s asylum seeker processing centre on Nauru are said to be be collapsing and suffering heart and kidney problems.
A detainee calling himself ‘Mohammed’ told the ABC that 280 people at the facility are refusing food in protest at their treatment.
Many are entering a 12th day without food and doctors are said to be very worried about the condition of one Iranian man who has refused food for 31 days.
The doctors have reportedly warned that he will soon have major organ failure and have asked that he be moved to Nauru hospital.
Ian Rintoul from the Refugee Action Coalition told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat program he had spoken to some of the asylum seekers late last night and says more people are feeling unwell.
“They’ve got back problems presumably from pain in the kidneys, stomach problems, a lot more people reporting being dizzy,” he said.
He added that only 15 people had reported to the island’s medical centre, and that a handful abandoned their protest on Sunday.
Mohammed said that he was also becoming increasingly weak.
“Until now we didn’t get any response and the guys, their conditions are getting worse day by day,” he said.
“Me, I personally I collapsed yesterday. Guys lost 10 to 12 kilograms of their weight and some of the guys they have heart problems and kidney problems.”
Australia’s immigration department has said that the number of asylum seekers reported to be involved in the protest is inflated.
Meanwhile, the immigration department announced 24 asylum seekers have been sent from the northern city of Darwin to Nauru.
It says they are mostly Afghanis but the group also includes Iraqis, Iranians and Sri Lankans.
Around 400 asylum seekers are now living on Nauru as part of the government’s offshore processing policy.
Amnesty International’s refugee spokesperson, Dr Graham Thom, told Pacific Beat that Amnesty will be travelling to Nauru next week to investigate conditions there.
“We want to see first-hand what’s going on, what is the situation, what’s happening on the ground, how are people being treated, what are the conditions that’s facing them day-to-day,” Dr Thom said.
“Part of the reason we’re going is we’ve been calling very strongly for the need for independent monitors to be allowed to go and to be allowed to have access and to be allowed to have that warts and all view.”
Dr Thom said two Amnesty workers will be spending three and a half days in Nauru.
He said the visit was “not a comprehensive Amnesty investigation”, but would allow the group to comment first-hand and evaluate whether a more comprehensive visit is needed.
“Ultimately we want to make sure individuals are having their rights respected and importantly that they’re having their refugee status determination done in a timely manner,” he said.”