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Govt should walk away from Malaysia deal: Greens

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Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young Australian Greens

Monday, June 6 2011 MEDIA RELEASE

Govt should walk away from Malaysia deal: Greens

“There will be no assurances for the rights of men, women and children unless Malaysia changes its laws to ensure human rights are protected and signs the conventions on refugees, torture and the rights of the child,” the Greens’ immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said today from Christmas Island.

“Until these changes are made, we should not be sending anyone from Australia there.

“The ‘case-by-case’ basis the Immigration Minister is now insisting will be used to assess unaccompanied minors again demonstrates the minister has never put the rights of children above his role as immigration minister, despite his legal requirements. His clear conflict of interest is unlikely to change any time soon.

“The Australian Greens are encouraged to see Labor MPs standing up against the plan to expel unaccompanied children to Malaysia from Australia. We hope that others will join them and push to abandon the deal.

“It is extremely disappointing to see how low the debate has stooped when we are left with comparing the dangers of the Malaysian solution with the damaging policy of Nauru. Neither of these options is acceptable -- both are a waste of money, ruin people's lives and are terribly inhumane.

“The lives of vulnerable people should not be determined by the lesser of two evils.

“The Prime Minister wants to send children and families to Malaysia and Tony Abbott wants to send them to Nauru -- Australia can do better than this. These are vulnerable people who deserve dignity and respect and need our protection. They should not be used as traded goods for the sake of domestic politics.”