11 Dec 2003

Five more Afghanis sow lips in Nauru protests

5:10 pm on 11 December 2003

Five more Afghanis have sewn their lips together as part of a hunger strike by failed asylum seekers on Nauru.

Australian Government Immigration officials have confirmed that four marked world Human Rights Day yesterday by putting several stitches in their lips and refusing food and water.

Hassan Ghulam, the president of the Hazara Ethnic Society of Australia, says five more have followed suit to highlight their plight.

He says detainees are living in appalling conditions and will remain on the hunger strike until they get a result.

"Australian government has cut down the supply of water to two hours. The food and other services have been further cut, and all the time they are telling the detainees that guards are coming from Afghanistan, they will beat you, they will tie your hands and feet, and you will be injected with medication and they will put you in a plane and they will take you to Afghanistan."

Mr Ghulam is calling on Australian immigration officials to hear their concerns and accept them as refugees on humanitarian grounds.