3 Oct 2014

Protests and self-harm in Nauru camp

8:44 am on 3 October 2014

Asylum seekers on Nauru, including children, have stitched their lips shut in protest at being held in detention for more than a year and at plans to move them to Cambodia.

In a video seen by Guardian Australia online, six boys and men appear seated in a tent in the Australia run detention centre on Nauru, with their lips crudely sewn shut.

The paper says a man is heard on the video saying the group have sewed their lips in protest at the new laws that Australia has imposed.

Guardian Australia has been told that at least one of the men has been taken to hospital after refusing all food and water for more than 48 hours.

Protests are continuing daily in Nauru over what asylum seekers say is discriminatory and cruel treatment.

The Immigration Minister Scott Morrison introduced a bill into parliament in September to attempt to reintroduce temporary protection visas and a new form of temporary regional work visa for asylum seekers who arrived by boat.

But the proposed legislative changes will not apply to asylum seekers already offshore, who must stay on Nauru or agree to be moved to Cambodia.

The paper says a second video shows protests at the weekend involving asylum seeker men, women and children at the family detention camp.

The asylum seekers also handed over a letter addressed to the Australian high commissioner detailing their complaints.

The asylum seekers' letter said they had been dumped on the island like rubbish and treated like animals.

Meanwhile, in a radio interview this week, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said the government does not comment on individual cases of self-harm.

He added his government anticipated there would be a bit of reaction to the news that said people on Nauru would not be able to come to Australia.

He said it was never going to be their policy and they have taken preventative measures to ensure the security of the facility on Nauru.