Malaysia to Take Asylum Seekers
09 May 2011: The Malaysian authority has made a bilateral agreement with Australia to house hundreds of asylum seekers, who were illegally smuggled into the Southern Hemisphere island, it emerged yesterday.
Up to 800 people who arrived in Australia by boat are to be taken back to Malaysia, where their cases will be processed by the United Nations, according to sources.
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak were quoted as saying in their joint statement that Australia will ‘accept and resettle’, over a period of four years, 4,000 registered refugees currently living in Malaysia.
The agreement, which was recently reached after a series of negotiations over the past seven months, is yet to be finalised in the coming weeks in an attempt to prevent human trafficking and smuggling.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard said: “This landmark agreement will help take away the product people smugglers are trying to sell — a ticket to Australia.”
The leaders were said to be urging the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to treat the ‘deportees’ with dignity and respect and in accordance with human rights standards.
It is estimated that there are more than 80,000 refugees from Burma, of which about 50,000 are Chins.
Van Biak Thang