Asylum seekers hunger strike continues at Western Australia's Curtin Detention Center

14:29, April 26, 2011      

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Asylum seekers in Australia are continuing a hunger strike at Western Australia's Curtin Immigration Detention Center, local media reported on Tuesday.

A peaceful protest at the Kimberley facility in Western Australia continued on Tuesday as Australian Immigration Minister Chris Bowen announced government plans to toughen laws to deter violent behavior at detention centers, according to Australian Associated Press (AAP).

The proposed changes would mean anyone convicted of criminal conduct while in immigration detention would automatically be denied a protection visa under character test rules.

An immigration spokeswoman said on Tuesday that 12 detainees at Curtin had advised staff they were on "voluntary starvation", as part of a peaceful protest that started at the center on Saturday.

"Beyond that there have been some detainees who have skipped meals over the past couple of days," she said.

Around 80 mainly Afghan detainees were on Tuesday engaged in a peaceful protest at the center but numbers fluctuated, the spokeswoman said.

On Monday, around 20 detainees required minor treatment at the facility's medical center after being out in the heat, according to AAP reports.

Refugee Action Coalition spokesman Ian Rintoul told AAP on Tuesday that 109 detainees were on a full hunger strike.

"Chris Bowen needs to address the underlying problems of lives being devastated by mandatory detention," Rintoul said.

Source: Xinhua
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