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July 6, 2011


by refugeeactioncoalitionsydney

The Refugee Action Coalition has welcomed the action in the High Court to challenge the lawfulness of the detention of the asylum seekers being held on Christmas Island only to be deported to Malaysia or another third country.

This afternoon, Wednesday 6 July, documents were lodged with the High Court that seek to challenge the lawfulness of the detention of asylum seekers presently held on Christmas Island to be sent to a third country. The action is on behalf of an Afghan man who was an interpreter acting with the Coalition forces and is now in Lilac compound under threat of deportation to Malaysia.

Well-respected Sydney firm, Mallesons are the pro bono instructing solicitors.

The 340 asylum seekers who have arrived since the announcement of the Malaysian deal are from a range of countries including Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Syria and Burma. Although the case has been taken in the name of one asylum seeker, it is understood that a successful outcome would have implications for all those being held.

“There is no doubt that the people-trafficking Malaysian deal is morally repugnant. We are hopeful that it will also be found to be unlawful. The government is certainly discriminating against them and violating their human rights. Why on earth would the Australian government be sending Syrians fleeing the killing in Syria to Malaysia,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“The government is trying to subvert the Refugee Convention. These asylum seekers should be processed in Australia, on the mainland.

“There is no redeeming aspect to the deal which will take 4000 refugees over four years from Malaysia while sending 800 asylum seekers to Malaysia to be put ‘at the back of the queue.’ The government should be increasing its humanitarian intake of asylum seekers to take refugees from Malaysia and Indonesia without any conditions attached.

“It has not been well understood that families sent back to Malaysia will have the fathers separated from the mothers and children. And this from a government that says it is committed to getting children and families out of detention.

“Instead of competing with Tony Abbott over Nauru versus Malaysia, off-shore processing should be scrapped. The government that got rid of Nauru, should be end off-shore processing and changing the law to get rid of mandatory detention.”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

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