• (File: AAP)
Four detainees at Nauru’s regionalprocessing centre have sewn their lips together in a protest over theirconditions, refugee advocates claim.
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UPDATED 10:48 AM - 26 Aug 2013

Four detainees at Nauru's regional processing centre have sewn their lips together in a protest over their conditions, refugee advocates claim.

Ian Rintoul from the Refugee Action Coalition says 15 men are believed to be on a hunger strike, and four Iranian men have sewn their lips together.

“They're desperate to try to do something,” he says, adding that turmoil within the Nauruan government has caused further concern among detainees at the facility.

“They're now thinking -- will they ever be processed?”

Three senior government ministers have stepped down or been relived from their posts in the past few weeks, with one opposition government spokesman claiming conflict over the Australian-run detention centre is to blame, according to earlier reports.

A department of Immigration spokesman confirmed there was some “protest activity” at the centre yesterday afternoon.

“The centre is now calm,” the spokesman said. “There were four transferees who did engage in acts of self-harm however it wouldn't be appropriate to comment on the nature of that self-harm.”