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Australia still committed to Malaysia asylum policy

Published on Nov 7, 2012 9:48 AM

SYDNEY (AFP) - Australia said it remained committed to sending asylum-seekers to Malaysia for processing and insisted it is not necessary for Kuala Lumpur to be a signatory to the UN refugee convention.

Canberra last year clinched a deal to send 800 boatpeople to Malaysia in exchange for 4,000 of that country's registered refugees as a deterrent to people paying smugglers to make the dangerous maritime voyage to Australia,

The plan was scotched in the High Court and was also opposed in the Australian parliament, which insists asylum-seekers should only be sent to countries that have signed the UN refugee convention. Malaysia has not.

But with Australia facing a record influx of boatpeople this year - more than 13,500 since Jan 1 - and an offshore camp in Nauru filling up fast, Foreign Minister Bob Carr said the plan needed to be revisited.

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