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Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Australia rejects UN comments on Malaysia deal

The federal government maintains it is on solid legal ground with its controversial asylum-seeker deal with Malaysia, despite a senior United Nations official's comments to the contrary.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay told a forum in Sydney on Monday the deal - which has not yet been finalised - appeared to violate international refugee law.

"It cannot send individuals to a country that has not ratified the torture convention, the convention on refugees," she said.

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But Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) Secretary Andrew Metcalfe says his advice from Australia's top lawyers is different.

"With respect, I would disagree with some of the comments she's made," he told an Senate estimates committee on Tuesday.

"We are confident in the legal position we have.

"I'm not aware of the basis for the high commissioner's comments.

"I understand she had not been well-briefed in relation to Australia's plans."

Ms Pillay on Tuesday met with Immigration Minister Chris Bowen for what a Labor caucus spokesman described as a "constructive and positive" discussion.

continue reading: http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/govt-rejects-un-comments-on-malaysia-deal-20110524-1f18u.html


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