Hunger strike escalates at detention centres

More asylum seekers have joined hunger strikes at a detention centre in Queensland and another facility in Darwin.

It is believed up to 100 men at the Scherger Immigration Detention Centre near Weipa are now taking part in the protest that began last Thursday.

Ten Afghan detainees are also protesting on the roof of Darwin’s detention centre and the Refugee Action Coalition says the men are also on a hunger strike.

It is believed both groups of men are angry over the time it is taking to process their asylum applications.

Ian Rintoul from the Refugee Action Coalition has appealed for help, saying it it is an “urgent situation”.

“We would be quite willing to put the money up to get Bob Brown from the Greens, to get Andrew Wilkie, to get Rob Oakeshott. even Bob Katter [up there],” he said.

“Because we do need independent eyes to report what is actually happening inside Scherger and why you have got so many people willing to take these desperate measures to put their claims before the Government, to put their pleas to the Australian public.”

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young says the situation highlights problems within the Scherger facility.

“The situation there is dire. I have been following the case of the young man who took his life there several months ago,” she said.

“It is not good enough that we are seeing people, particularly young people, taking their own lives after they have come to Australia seeking our protection and our help.”

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