23 Oct 2012

Australia's asylum seekers plead for help over Nauru detention

6:46 pm on 23 October 2012

Asylum seekers sent by Australia to its reopened detention facility on Nauru have issued a plea to international media to travel to Nauru to see what they call their bad situation.

The asylum seekers, who now number about 400, have made their call for urgent help to the Refugee Action Coalition.

The asylum seekers, many of whom are from Sri Lanka, are kept in tents until the long-term processing centre on Nauru is rebuilt.

They complain of widespread physical sickness due to extreme 40 degree heat, with no fans or air conditioners and little water.

They say mental health problems are rocketing, with a number having already attempted suicide after receiving advice that their claims for refugee status could take years to process.

There is an ongoing hunger strike by four or five of the asylum seekers; one of them has not eaten for 11 days.