Sept. 1 - Malaysian human rights activists welcome decision by the High Court of Australia to throw out refugee swap deal. Nick Rowlands reports.
A day after the Australian High Court annuls a refugee exchange deal between Malaysia and Australia, Malaysian human rights advocates say the country must ratify the UN convention on refugee swaps before it agrees to any future deals. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHAIRMAN OF SUARAM, KALIMUTHU ARUMUGAN: "Malaysia should actually sign the convention and accommodate these refugees with proper standards so that they can find jobs and are able to take care of their health and family life. Their educational needs must be met and they need to be able to find a home in Malaysia until a proper system can be established for them to be sent back to their home country or elsewhere in the world." The deal was declared illegal by the Australian High Court over concerns asylum seekers were not being granted basic human rights in Malaysia. Malaysian human rights activists praised the Australian court's decision, but remain worried about the fate of the asylum seekers being detained on Christmas Island. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SENATOR OF SELANGOR STATE, SOPPIAH RAMAKRISHNAN: "They have to come up with an accepted solution. So Australia has to act now, act now in the larger interest not making it as a political issue. We are concerned about that even though we… the international community got what they wanted but we are concerned about the inability of Australia to find an amicable solution." Kuala Lumpur and Canberra signed a refugee swap deal in July aimed at deterring Asian asylum-seekers from sailing to Australia. Under the deal, Australia would send up to 800 newly-arrived asylum seekers to Malaysia for their claims to be assessed, and in return would accept more refugees from Malaysia. Nick Rowlands, Reuters.