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Australian court rules against refugee swap

09-01-2011 14:18 BJT

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Australia's highest court has scuttled government plans for a refugee swap with Malaysia. The decision aims to stem asylum seekers from poor, war-torn countries attempting to reach Australia by boat.

The ruling came after two fires broke out during a protest earlier on Wednesday at an immigration detention centre in Darwin, northern Australia. The High Court reached a 6 to 1 majority decision to make permanent an injunction preventing the government from transferring 800 asylum seekers to Malaysia in return for Malaysia sending 4,000 registered refugees for resettlement.

Lawyer David Manne, who leads the Melbourne-based Refugee and Immigration Legal Centre, welcomed the decision. He represents 16 asylum seekers who brought the case to court and were to be the first to be extradited to Malaysia.

Manne called on the government to quickly process his clients' refugee claims.

Australia has long attracted asylum seekers hoping to start a new life, with more than 6,200 people arriving by boat last year. Most are from Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Iran and Iraq. They use Malaysia or Indonesia as a starting point for a dangerous sea journey to Australia.



Editor:Liu Fang |Source: CNTV.CN

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