Malaysia plays hardball over asylum swap deal with AustraliaJune 03, 2011KUALA LUMPUR, June 3 — Malaysia is pushing hard over the proposed refugee swap agreement with Australia and has removed all references to human rights in the deal.
According to the draft agreement obtained by Australian broadcaster ABC TV’s Lateline, Malaysia wants to decide which asylum seekers it accepts and for Australia to cover almost all costs of the refugee exchange.
“Where the Transferee do (sic) not agree to return to their country of origin, voluntarily forced returns may be necessary. In this event, the Government of Australia will be fully responsible to accept and ensure voluntarily forced returns,” stated the document, as quoted by ABC.
ABC said Malaysia has insisted on sending 4,000 refugees to Australia, regardless of how many asylum seekers it accepted in return.
Malaysia also does not want the United Nations Refugee Convention, which it is not a signatory of, to cover its side of the agreement.
“The treatment of the Transferee while in Malaysia will be in accordance with the Malaysian laws, rules, regulations and national policies,” said the document.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has expressed concerns with Malaysia’s amendments to the agreement that were made last Monday.
“What the document shows is that there is a real reluctance by Malaysia to commit to a clear inclusion of human rights standards and guarantees,” Australia’s Refugee and Immigration Legal Centre co-ordinator David Manne was quoted as saying.
“For example, in the document refugees are referred to as illegal immigrants. There’s no reference to the word asylum seeker. There’s certainly no reference to human rights,” he said.
An internal UNHCR document has also suggested that Australia had a position on sending children to Malaysia, according to ABC.
“AUL (Australia) doesn’t want to provide exceptions for UAMS (unaccompanied minors) and vulnerable individuals for fear if (sic) this being a pull factor exploited by smugglers,” the document said.
The opposition Greens and independent lawmakers in Australia have questioned Malaysia’s human rights record as Canberra faces mounting criticisms of its asylum swap deal, now roundly derided as the “Malaysia Solution”.
Australian media has highlighted Amnesty International as saying 6,000 detainees in Malaysia each year suffer the rattan cane, which “shreds the victim’s naked skin and turns tissue into pulp”.
Canberra plans to send 800 asylum seekers who tried to come to Australia by boat to Malaysia for processing.
In exchange, Australia will resettle 4,000 genuine refugees currently residing in Malaysia. - Malaysian Insider, 3/6/2011, Malaysia plays hardball over asylum swap deal with Australia
Friday, June 03, 2011
If you break the laws of Malaysia, you can be arrested, detained, charged and tried in Malaysian courts ...but if you never broke any Malaysian laws, can you be arrested and detained. Now, the 800 asylum seekers from Australia that Malaysia may accept as part of a deal with Australia never did break any Malaysian law - and as such they cannot be arrested, detained or deprived of their liberty here in Malaysia.
Even when and if they arrive in Malaysia, they cannot be said to be 'illegally' entering Malaysia for their entry and stay is not just facilitated but approved by our Malaysian government - so rightfully, they can never be treated like 'undocumented migrants' or illegal migrants. Hence, detaining them....or in any way depriving them of their liberty is certainly contrary to law.
Malaysia, for example cannot go over to Singapore and grab a few Singaporeans and bring them over to Malaysia - and then cause them to be arrested and detained in Detention Centers because they are 'undocumented migrants', or what the government prefers 'illegal migrants'.
So, how will Malaysia justify detaining the 800 from Australia when they get here...