6 Nov 2012

Hunger strike at Nauru asylum seeker camp continues, but numbers disputed

7:20 am on 6 November 2012

The Nauru government says it understands about fifty people are refusing food at Australia's detention centre for asylum seekers on the island.

But a refugee activist says about 300 remain on hunger strike since starting last Thursday.

Sally Round reports.

"An asylum seeker told Radio New Zealand International last week all of the 377 detained had started a hunger strike in protest at Australia's re-introduced offshore processing policy. Ian Rintoul of the Refugee Action Coalition says on Monday about three hundred aren't eating. An Australian immigration department spokesperson says there has been inaccurate reporting of the numbers involved and a large number of meals and snack food are being claimed in the camp. Ian Rintoul says thirty people were taken to the medical centre for rehydration treatment on Sunday and five more needed treatment on Monday. He says dehydration in the high temperatures has been compounded by the asylum seekers refusing food. The Nauru government says it understands the numbers taking part in the protest are fluctuating daily."