Asylum seekers are pictured in this handout photo provided by the refugee action coalition, taken inside the Manus Island detention center in Papua New Guinea January 13, 2015. REUTERS/Refugee Action Coalition/Handout via Reuters
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Hundreds of asylum seekers have gone on hunger strike at an Australian immigration detention center in Papua New Guinea, rights groups said on Wednesday, with some sewing their lips shut to highlight fears for their security.Australia uses offshore detention centers in Papua New Guinea and the tiny South Pacific island nation of Nauru to process would-be refugees trying to reach the country, often in unsafe boats after paying people-smugglers in Indonesia. The detention center on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea was the scene of deadly riots in February 2014, in which one asylum seeker was killed and more than 70 injured after residents overran the camp, attacking detainees with makeshift weapons. Prime Minister Tony Abbott's tough line on people smuggling has been credited with grinding the trade to a virtual halt, but thousands remain in camps like Manus Island.
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