A mass hunger strike started on Nauru this morning after a detainee attempted suicide last night.
Refugee Action Coalition spokesman Ian Rintoul said asylum seekers had told him a detainee climbed onto a light pole and told other detainees, who were pleading with him to come down, that he was “tired of living”.
An asylum seeker told Mr Rintoul: “Other asylum seekers started crying and requesting him to come down please (but) he was not ready to come down saying that he is tired here in worst condition of Nauru Hell, he want to die.”
A spokeswoman from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship confirmed a man had attempted self harm and he was treated by the International Health and Medical Services, which manages the health of detainees.
She confirmed about 170 asylum seekers were engaging in a “peaceful protest” today.
“They’ve also indicated they have stopped eating meals,” she said.
But she said service providers had ensured asylum seekers had access to food and water at all times.
The asylum seekers have asked to be taken back to Australia and for the processing of their asylum claims to start immediately.
“We asylum seekers in Nauru planned to start a hunger strike... for unknown time, this is a clear message that we are not happy here, we want to go back from this Hell to Australia and we request to the Australia government to start our processing.”
They say the conditions on Nauru are compounding mental health issues.
“We have no accommodation. We are in tents. We have no fans, no water, no air conditioner and no fridge. It is very hot – 40 degrees; 42 degrees.”
“Every day, people are sick. The weather is making people sick –people have headaches; there is high blood pressure; some have sugar problems. People are sick, mentally sick and physically sick.
The DIAC spokeswoman said all asylum seekers had access to medical care and mental health support services.There are currently 371 people on Nauru.