There are many people protesting in Australia against the Australian government’s plan to swap refugees with Malaysia. Prime Minister Julia Gillard has been receiving a lot of criticism for her proposed controversial plan to where she wants to send 800 asylum seekers to Malaysia in exchange for accepting 4,000 of its refugees. The high court has blocked this proposal and ruled this ‘deal’ not adequate because it does not provide proper protections for those seeking refuge. They stated, “The ‘boatpeople’ cannot be sent to a country (Malaysia) without necessary rights and agreements.”
Protesters and refugee activist have been continually heckling the Immigration minister and the parliament members to follow the high court ruling. They feel that through this type of ‘offshore dumping’ Australia is abandoning it’s responsibilities to those who are seeking refuge and essentially denying them their rights by sending them to Malaysia.
The Immigration minister and Gillard argue that Malaysia has agreed to treat the refugees with dignity and respect and will cater to their human rights protections. The public is not convinced.
While the intentions behind this proposal may have been good, and for the benefit of the refugees and the Australian people, it brings a fascinating question to the issue of asylum seeking. Should countries be able to ‘swap’ amongst each other?