2 Jun 2014

Asylum seekers in Australia in solidarity hunger strike

12:39 pm on 2 June 2014

Hunger strikers at Australia's asylum-seeker detention centre on Christmas Island are reportedly being warned that they may be sent to Nauru or Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.

Ian Rintoul, from the Refugee Action Coalition, says hundreds of the detainees are on hunger strike, with seven of them stitching their lips together, prompting the Australian immigration department to lock down the detention centre.

Mr Rintoul says the strike is in solidarity with Reza Berati, the Iranian asylum-seeker who was killed while in Canberra's care in PNG in February.

He says the protesters have been on the island for 10 and 11 months, and have been threatened to be sent to Nauru or Manus Island.

Mr Rintoul says these detainees are the onshore victims of a failing system of offshore processing, and their mental health is declining, while facing months, and perhaps years, in detention.