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Last updated: 02 March, 2010 - Published 12:30 GMT
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Lankans end hunger strike in Indonesia

Sri Lanka asylum seekers in Indonesia (file photo)
Some Sri Lankan asylum seekers have been kept in detention in Indonesia for more than a year

A group of Sri Lankan asylum seekers who has launched a hunger strike in a detention centre in Indonesia has ended their protest after the intervention of immigration officials.

The officials have pledged to bring in UNHCR officials to the centre to look into their plight within three days.

The group has been demanding an immediate release from the centre on Bintan island in Tanjung Pinang where they have been kept for more than a year.

Vishavanathan Rajan, one of five Sri Lankans involved in the hunger strike told BBC Sinhala service, Sandeshaya, that they decided to end the seven-day hunger strike after the pledge by the officials.

He said the UNHCR officials, who maintained that they have no authority over immigration officials, have not visited the centre for more than five months.

Australia 'in charge'

Although the centre is in Indonesia, the centre is run by Australian authorities, according to the inmates.

Another asylum seeker told BBC Tamil service: '' We should be allowed to move around freely or let us go and settle in a country where our claim for asylum could be accepted''

 The UNHCR has recognized us as refugees. Then why we are being held in the detention for more than a year
A Sri Lankan asylum seeker

Nearly twenty five Sri Lankan Tamils who surrendered themselves to the Indonesian authorities through the UNHCR are among more than 100 asylum seekers in the Tanjung Pinang detention centre. A woman and two children are also among the detained Sri Lankans.

Afghan and Vietnam nationals are among the other detainees, according to Vishavanathan Rajan.

''The UNHCR has recognized us as refugees. Then why we are being held in the detention for more than a year?" questions another asylum seeker.

A father of two said that his children's right to education has also being refused for long time as they have already spent several years in a Malaysian detention centre.

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