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12 asylum-seeker mothers attempt suicide so children can stay in Australia: Report

Published on Jul 9, 2014 9:15 AM
A child among a group of Sri Lankan asylum seekers sent back by Australia looks on before entering the magistrate's court in the southern port district of Galle on July 8, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP 

SYDNEY (AFP) - A dozen mothers in an asylum-seeker camp have reportedly attempted suicide so their children can be settled in Australia, but Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Wednesday said he would not be morally blackmailed.

The Sydney Morning Herald said the women tried to kill themselves this week after being told they would be taken from a detention centre on Christmas Island to Papua New Guinea or Nauru.

Any boatpeople who arrived in Australia after July 19, 2013 cannot be resettled in Australia, regardless of whether they are genuine refugees or not. They are instead sent to detention facilities or resettled on islands in the Pacific.

The report cited three independent sources, including lawyer Jacob Varghese, who is representing 72 asylum-seeker babies.

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