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Sixty detained asylum seekers have been refusing to eat and drink in a Rotterdam prison since May 6, in protest at the “inhumane detention of refugees”.

A week ago 20 asylum seekers in a detention centre in Schiphol also began a hunger strike, with 10 still refusing to feed themselves.

The main reason for the protest is the difference in the treatment of asylum seekers on the basis of how they arrive in the country. Those who arrive by plane are incarcerated, sometimes for more than six months, while those who arrive over land borders are not.

The UNHCR and the organisation for refugees VluchtelingenWerk argue that the incarceration and treatment of refugees at Schiphol is more severe than is permitted under international law.