The asylum seekers most of whom have been held at an immigration detention center in South Australia state for three to four years say they face grave danger if they are returned to Sri Lanka - , said Emma Corcoran, a spokeswoman for Rural Australians for Refugees (RAR).
Under the current procedure for assessing asylum claims, immigration officials evaluate only the political situation at the time the application is filed, Corcoran
said Monday.But the hunger strikers say recent political developments in Sri Lanka - place them at greater risk of persecution, and are seeking to have their cases reopened.
Peace negotiations aimed at ending Sri Lanka - 's civil war were suspended in April 2003 when the rebel Tamil Tigers withdrew from the talks, accusing the government of reneging on its promises to rehabilitate the war-torn northeast and resettle ethnic Tamils displaced by two decades of war.
"All they're asking for is that their claims are assessed again in light of the new situation," Corcoran
A spokesman for the Department of Immigration
, who spoke on a customary condition of anonymity, said the department was monitoring the asylum seekers' health, but that waging a hunger strike would not help their cause.
"The department doesn't respond to these sorts of actions and it will not change the outcome of their cases," he