‘Malaysian solution’ formalised as government signs swap deal


Australia and Malaysian officially signed a refugee swap deal in Kuala Lumpur this afternoon. Australia will send 800 asylum-seekers to Malaysia. In return Australia will accept 4000 refugees from Malaysia. Asylum-seekers sent to Malaysia will be held in detention for 45 days before being released with special ID cards allowing them to work. Malaysia has refused to include in the deal the almost 570 asylum seekers who have arrived in Australia since the deal was announced in May. Immigration Minister Chris Bowen confirmed today that these asylum seekers will now be processed in Australia. Refugee advocates have described the deal as people-trafficking by governments. Amnesty International says Australia is breaching its obligation to the United Nations Refugee Convention, by sending people back to a country where they are at risk of persecution or torture. The Wire’s Liz Cush went to Villawood detention centre yesterday to a protest against the Malaysia deal.

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