hunger strike

Hunger strikes by detainees at Yarl’s Wood immigration detention centre in Bedfordshire — one of 13 detention centres in Britain — ended after a month on March 22. However, campaigners have vowed to continue protests.

More than 200 detainees at detention centres in Villawood in Sydney and Maribyrnong in Melbourne, were on hunger strike for five days from January 15–19 in protest at visitor restrictions announced by Border Force.

Beginning January 22, visitors will have to give five days’ notice of any visit and fill in a five-page form, with actual visits restricted to one-on-one.

Visitors will be required to provide 100 points of identification.

Students and staff of Jaffna University rallied on October 4 in support of three Tamil prisoners who are on hunger strike.

The prisoners are accused of having been members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, which fought for an independent Tamil homeland in the north and east of the island of Sri Lanka, until defeated in May 2009. The Sri Lankan government’s victory was accompanied by a genocidal massacre of tens of thousands of Tamil civilians.

The demands of the hunger strikers are for basic civil rights. There are 6500 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, including 300 children. About 500 are being held under “administrative detention” — meaning they are held without trial by court orders that can be renewed indefinitely.

Despite the scale of the hunger strike and huge popular support enjoyed by the prisoners and their campaign for “freedom and dignity”, Israel shows no signs of acceding to any of the prisoners’ demands to end their ill-treatment.

Support for the more than 1500 Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike, which began on April 16, continues to grow across the Occupied Palestinian Territories, despite the more than 1500 prisoners on hunger strike getting almost no reaction from mainstream media.

Twenty-five-year-old Iranian asylum seeker Saeed Hanssanloo was reportedly improving with medical assistance after ending his hunger strike on April 7. Hanssanloo began refusing food more than 40 days previously when he learnt his asylum claim had been rejected. The Refugee Action Coalition released this statement on April 8.

***

The Refugee Action Coalition has welcomed the news that Iranian hunger striker Saeed Hanssanloo has ended his hunger strike.

There is one message refugees in the Manus Island detention centre want Australia to hear: we need help.

In a letter written on January 20, a group of asylum seekers taking part in a mass hunger strike wrote: “In here alarms are ringing but heartless politicians are still indifferent.”

They said they were writing “from the heart of Manus” as the hunger strike entered its “ninth day and it will continue”.

“We will continue our push until we reach our ultimate goal, which is freedom.”

The shocking bipartisan cruelty towards refugees and asylum-seekers continues to expose the moral bankruptcy of the federal coalition government and the equally culpable ALP opposition.

The latest despicable acts of criminal neglect and denial of human rights by our government towards asylum-seekers have been tragically playing out in a Darwin detention centre and in the Australian detention centre on PNG’s Manus Island, to our daily horror and disgust.

Iranian asylum-seeker “Martin” is now at a point of no return after more than 80 days on hunger strike in a Darwin detention centre.

Twenty-two members of Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance initiated a 24-hour hunger strike in solidarity with the hunger-striking refugees on Manus Island.

The action, held from noon on January 20 until noon on January 21, aimed to draw attention to the plight of 700 refugees on Manus Island.

It was a symbolic gesture that allowed young people from around the country to start conversations with others who were unaware of what was happening on Manus Island at the direction of the Australian government.

Hunger-striking refugee 35-year-old Omid Sorousheh's desperate plea to be recognised as a refugee in Australia has been treated with contempt by immigration minister Chris Bowen, despite clear indications that he was close to death.

Omid has been on a hunger strike for 50 days on November 30. That day it was reported he had been finally airlifted from Nauru and returned to Australia.

Pages

Subscribe to hunger strike