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Australia Malaysia Refugee Agreement

However, discussions on the “asylum exchange” system concern refugees who are already in Australia and deported to Malaysia, considered a refugee-hostile country and treated as illegal immigrants who are not entitled to work, education, detention and detention. “This is not an easy environment for refugees,” said UNCHR spokesman Yante Ismail. The Minister of the Interior seems to put all the questions in the same basket. Asylum seekers and refugees are different. Refugees are people who flee safely to protect their lives as a result of persecution. The swap deal, first announced nearly three months ago by Ms Gillard and Immigration Minister Chris Bowen, means Australia will send 800 asylum seekers to Malaysia and in return take in 4,000 controlled refugees. The Afghanistan agreement has been the subject of controversy. Shortly after his signature, Afghan Refugee Minister Jamaher Anwary appeared to depart from the agreement, which said it did not allow a forced return. The recent agreement is not the first time Malaysia has acted as a temporary stopover for refugees before arriving in Australia. In the 1970s and 1980s, people fleeing Vietnam often moved time in refugee camps in Malaysia before entering Australia. Malaysia will have the right of veto over all asylum seekers that Australia wants to relocate there under the refugee agreement signed this afternoon in Kuala Lumpur. On July 25, 2011, Australia and Malaysia signed an agreement on the transfer and resettlement of refugees and asylum seekers.

Over the next four years, Australia will send 800 unprocessed asylum seekers to malaysia, where they will be managed by the United Nations. In exchange, Australia will take in 4,000 refugees from Malaysia already certified by the United Nations. (ii) provides protection to asylum seekers until their refugee status is determined; “In order to ensure the well-being of the transferred asylum seekers, there will be an oversight committee that will include members of UNHCR (UN Refugee Relief and Works Agency),” she said. Malaysian human rights defenders are critical of the deal. By accepting the swap, Malaysia will create a two-step system – one for the 800 asylum seekers funded by Australia and the other 90,000 for the other refugees already in Malaysia. Australia has agreed to provide $300 million over four years to support the swap program. The 800 asylum seekers sent to Malaysia will be particularly treated. Refugees are housed in a special Australian-funded detention centre, ID plates are issued and then released into the community, where they can access health care and education and work. However, the remaining 90,000 who are outside the program do not have such benefits. Double standards are therefore seen by many as discriminatory and could polarize refugee communities in Malaysia.

Irene Fernandez of Tenaganita, a Malaysian-based non-governmental refugee and intercession organization, argued, along with others, that Australia should have pushed Malaysia to ratify the convention before approving it. According to her, this would have strengthened the security of protecting the rights of all refugees. The agreement has raised concerns among refugee advocates and human rights groups, including the human rights record in Malaysia. They say Malaysia is not a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention — a major reason why the federal government has not taken nauru as a treatment option. In 2009, several members of the UN Human Rights Council expressed “concerns” about refugees and asylum seekers detained in Malaysia. Their main concern was how Australia could ensure that asylum seekers would be treated with dignity and respect, “considering that Malaysia has an appalling record and is one of the worst places for refugees in the world.” He says that