OSLO, Nov. 24 (Xinhua) -- A total of 22 Afghan asylum seekers at a reception center for unaccompanied minors in northern Norway have started hunger strike after receiving negative reply to their asylum applications, public broadcaster NRK reported on Thursday.
The asylum reception center is located in the Vestvagoy municipality in northern Norway's Lofoten archipelago, the report said.
Bjorn Fridfeldt, regional director for the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) in northern Norway, said the asylum seekers have received negative decisions and have started a protest.
According to Gyri Mentzoni, a volunteer in the organization "Refugees welcome to Vagan," the Afghan asylum seekers started hunger strike on Wednesday night and decided not to participate in any activities and other things.
"They are absolutely desperate. They are afraid and terrified. This is the last thing they really can do," Mentzoni told NRK.
The UDI for the time being knows little about the strike, "but we are updated on developments," Fridfeldt said.
"We do not have possibility to do anything beyond that. Their guardians are the ones that, together with the reception center, handle the situation," he said, adding that the UDI "rarely experiences such massive protest actions in which many youth participate."
The UDI official said that, in case the protest is prolonged, the municipal health services will be informed and monitor the situation.
"It should not go very long before one must intervene using coercion to stop the situation," he said.
The reception is managed by the company Hero Norge AS in the name of the UDI. According to its regional manager in the northern Norway department Marita Thomassen, the company has good routines when situations like this arise.
"We try to talk to them to resolve the situation," she said.
"I have encouraged them to eat and go to school, for this does not make the situation any better. I understand, however, that they are afraid and distressed," one unidentified guardian for the asylum seekers told NRK.