More than 200 refugees held in a "tent city" on Nauru held a protest on October 14, saying they were horrified with the lack of health care, hygiene and entertainment at the camp.
They said that "no immigration officials, no human rights organization" have arrived to hear their claims for asylum, sparking fear and doubt about how long they will be held on Nauru.
The statement below was released by the Sydney Refugee Action Coalition on October 15.
Asylum seekers recently transferred to Nauru held a peaceful, but very vocal, protest on October 14 to coincide with a rally in Sydney against offshore processing.
A call from Nauru to the rally said, “Everyone in the camp are in the protest — it is a peaceful protest. We are Iraqi, Iranian, Afghan and Sri Lankan. We are refugees on Nauru. We are holding a peaceful protest to make our complaints about our situation. We are demanding for our processing to be started.”
After the rally, the Refugee Action Coalition later received another message from asylum seekers on Nauru: “A peaceful gathering of all asylum seekers in Nauru camp started at 2pm and concluded 3 hours later at 5pm with the issuing of a letter signed by all the asylum seekers residing in the Nauru camp.
“The asylum seekers present at this gathering request an end to the transfer of asylum seekers to Nauru and the closure of the camp here.
“We also request the presence of officials from the Australian Department of Immigration to start our immigration processing. We also request to have the presence of international committees like Red Cross, the UN Commissioner for Human Rights and the Australian Human Rights.
“Our most important request of all is to start our immigration processing. We asylum seekers declare that we will continue to hold gatherings/protests until we receive our real rights.
“During our protest some individuals also contacted various offices and media channels such as BBC and Sri Lankan networks supporting refugee rights campaigns and with the Refugee Action Coalition.
“This action by the asylum seekers on Nauru took place simultaneously with a rally of the supporters of refugee rights at Sydney’s Town Hall, and we would like here to express our deep gratitude for all who attended for showing their support for us.”