22 Jul '11, 2am

Australia, Malaysia asylum seeker deal 'close'

SYDNEY: Australia and Malaysia are set to finalise an agreement next week under which hundreds of boatpeople will be transferred to the Asian country in exchange for thousands of refugees, reports said Friday. The deal has come under heavy criticism because Malaysia is not a signatory to the United Nations convention on refugees, raising questions about the treatment of the 800 asylum seekers it has agreed to accept. But Canberra, which is battling to reduce the numbers of boatpeople arriving on its shores, hopes the policy will hurt people smugglers and stop asylum seekers from making the long and dangerous sea journey to Australia. The Sydney Morning Herald said unnamed sources had revealed that negotiations had secured the support of the United Nations and the deal would be formalised in Kuala Lumpur by ministers from both governments on Monday. A spokesman for Immigrat...

Full article: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/vi...

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