15 Jul 2013

More asylum seekers resort to self-harm and protest on Nauru

3:51 pm on 15 July 2013

An Iranian asylum seeker is among others now resorting to self harm at the Australian-run asylum seeker detention camp on Nauru while awaiting the outcome of his refugee claim.

Recent arrivals to the detention centre have been told it will take at least six months before they will have their first interview with Australian officials.

A spokesperson for the Australian based Refugee Action Coalition, Ian Rintoul says 100 asylum seekers on Nauru are now holding rowdy protests at night over ongoing delays to processing refugee claims.

With over 500 asylum seekers there, he says detention facilities are insufficient and unstable and many detainees are battling significant mental problems and poor health.

"As those conditions deteriorate and the length of time deteriorates, there are people now being sent off Nauru to Australia because they can't get the medical attention they need. We had another incident of an Iranian man who attempted suicide by hanging, and is now in a Nauru hospital. I think it is probably only a matter of time before he is transferred to Australia."

Ian Rintoul says the latest self harm attempt and protest comes after a recent hunger strike by up to 35 asylum seekers who had been told that they would wait six months before processing would even begin.