Monday, 25 July 2011

Refugees | Bowen to sign off on refugee swap deal

Photo: Australia insists asylum seekers will have their human rights protected when they arrive in Malaysia (ABC News: ABC TV)

The Federal Government is today expected to finalise its deal to send 800 asylum seekers to Malaysia.

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen is expected to sign off on the agreement in Malaysia today, more than two months after Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced the plan.

The memorandum of understanding will allow for 4,000 refugees to be be transferred from Malaysia to Australia and 800 asylum seekers who have attempted to come to Australia by boat to be sent to Malaysia for processing.

Refugees in Malaysia have broadly welcomed the agreement because it increases the number of available places.

However refugee advocates oppose it because the 800 people sent to Malaysia will face harsh conditions in a country that has not signed the UN refugee convention.

Activists are expected to hold a protest at the venue where the memorandum is signed. They say any safeguards for the 800 people sent from Australia would not be acceptable, because that would create a two-tiered system and disadvantage exisiting refugees.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says it is another broken promise, as Ms Gillard vowed not to send asylum seekers to any country which had not signed the UN refugee convention.

But Ms Gillard maintains human rights will be protected."We've been very clear on human rights protections," she said.

Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison says the 567 people who have arrived since the announcement will be left in limbo.

"If they were actually on their way to Malaysia this deal would be over virtually before it had even begun," he said.

The Government says the announcement has been an effective deterrent as three times the amount of people arrived in the same period last year.

Author | Source | ABC News

My Views

"I only hope the above photo is not indicative of the agreement the ALP minority Government is signing off today with Malaysia. If this is so then all I can say is that the ALP has lost its humanitarian soul and is pandering to ultra right views and is rudderless. My opinion is that the ALP should re examine its collective conscience and  revert to its previous core humanitarian belief".

1 comment:

  1. Rather than a transfer from one inhospitable environment to another, we need to resettle these refugees.

    There are more than 10 million refugees in the world today, which is an overwhelming number for any refugee resettlement sponsor. However, every refugee family that is resettled in another country is one less family stuck in inhospitable conditions in a refugee camp.

    My family and church support group has resettled 8 families here in Wisconsin. Though we know that isn't nearly 10 million, that is 8 fewer families stuck in those situations, and 8 more families contributing to society.


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