Villawood refugees continue hunger strikes


Two Chinese detainees have been on hunger strike in the Villawood detention centre for more than 40 days. During that time, an asylum seeker in Stage One has stabbed himself. His condition is deteriorating.

Hunger striker Yuan Hui Min has been in hospital for two weeks and her situation is becoming critical. According to Ian Rintoul from the Refugee Action Coalition (RAC), "These refugees are adamant they are going to continue their strike. Two detainees came off hunger strike on Tuesday 8th May after they had been taken to a medical centre."

A third man now on hunger strike arrived in Australia from India at the end of 2006. Shortly after, he applied for refugee status, but withdrew his application due to a family accident. Ever since, he has been asking the immigration department (DIMA) to send him home to India, yet the Indian government is refusing his request. He has been on hunger strike since May 8 and stopped taking fluids on May 10.

"There has been a corporate media blackout around the hunger strike in the last 2 weeks", noted Rintoul. "This means it is even more critical to galvanise support for the detainees."

RAC is planning daily vigils from May 16 outside DIMA's offices. Phone Ian on 0417 275 713 for more information.

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