Tuesday 20 January, 12 noon
Outside the Department of Immigration and Border Protection
299 Adelaide st, Brisbane CBD
In the last week, the Manus Island detention centre has been the site of ongoing protests and hunger strikes by asylum seekers who have been locked up for more than a year. They are protesting the Australian government's illegal policy to relocate them outside Australia. Local PNG people have threatened to storm the detention centre. The situation is very volatile.
For live updates on the events on Manus Island, follow the Guardian Australia
The number of men on hunger strike continues to grow, with strikers now numbering well over 500 (half of the detention population). Many of these young men are refusing water, which has meant people have already begun to collapse. Reports suggest more than 10 men have stitched their lips and one man has swallowed razor blades. The men have said they are "prepared for death". They have stated that they are not in a "processing centre" but a "torturing centre".
Meanwhile the Transfield and Wilson security guards responsible for the detention centre have been reported as threatening the detainees. One of them said, "You should keep on hunger strike and die here, because you will be killed as soon as you are outside."
These men have been stripped of control over their lives and their future. Refugee rights advocates reiterate that prolongued detention of asylum seekers in unsanitary and unsafe detention camps in Manus Island and Nauru constitutes a systematic violation of the UN convention on the status of refugees. Asylum seekers have resorted to hunger striking and bodily harm because that may be the only thing left under their control. It is incredibly distressing and disturbing that 500 men have been driven to take such desperate actions.
The Refugee Action Collective calls for an end to the complete inhumanity of indefinite mandatory detention, and for the Australian government to guarantee the personal safety and human rights of the asylumer seekers currently detained on Manus Island.
We demand freedom and justice for all asylum seekers. We echo the cries of these men and stand in solidarity with their struggle. Meet outside the offices of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (299 Adelaide st, Brisbane CBD) on Tuesday 20 January, 12 noon