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Australia's Nauru refugee camp 'appalling': Amnesty

Published on Nov 23, 2012 12:45 PM

SYDNEY (AFP) - The camp set up by Australia to house asylum-seekers on the Pacific island of Nauru was "appalling" and likely in breach of its obligations to refugees, rights group Amnesty said on Friday.

Australia began sending asylum-seekers to Nauru in September as part of a new policy of processing boatpeople offshore to deter others from making the risky sea journey Down Under which has claimed hundreds of lives.

The government says all refugees are treated humanely but Amnesty Australia's Mr Graham Thom, who visited Nauru this week, said the 386 men held on the island were in "extremely harsh" conditions. He said they slept in tents crowded with some 15 other men which leaked when it rained.

Several asylum-seekers are on hunger strike, with Mr Thom saying one man had shed 19 kilogrammes after refusing food for more than 40 days.

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