In Argentina, sixty Chilean and Uruguayan refugees have gone on an indefinite hunger strike to back demands that they be flown to another country.
SV PAN Street and hotel where refugees are staying
SV & CU INTERIOR WITH Refugees and their children in hotel (2 shots)
SV, CU Family living in basement room (2 shots)
SV Woman ironing as children play around bed
SV, CU Child laying in bed
SV Family emerging through trap door from basement
Twenty-seven Chilean refugees peacefully occupied the Canadian Embassy in Buenos Aires on 2 July. The unarmed group, including 10 children, were also seeking protection against threats to their lives. The refugees were still in the embassy on 5 July.
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Background: In Argentina, sixty Chilean and Uruguayan refugees have gone on an indefinite hunger strike to back demands that they be flown to another country. The refugees claim to have received a letter which threatened them with death if they did not leave Argentina with a week.
SYNOPSIS: The refugees are staying in a hostel in the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires, and have been in the country since 1974. They are all political refugees and are under the protection of the United Nations Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) which pays their hostel bills. The Commission estimates there are about 12,000 such people in Argentina although it believes there are many more who have not registered. There have been reports of abductions and murders of the refugees in recent months, forcing many of them to seek safety in basements and small confined rooms.
They say their hunger strike will continue until their demands are met or their safety in Argentina can be guaranteed. Last October, a group of armed refugees occupied offices of the UNHCR in Buenos Aires and held five officials hostage for three days until the group were put aboard a lane for Algeria.