31 Aug 2011

Australian court rules againsts refugee swap deal

9:17 pm on 31 August 2011

The High Court in Australia has ruled against the government's refugee swap deal with Malaysia, throwing into doubt the future of the scheme.

Under the proposed deal, Australia was to take 4000 refugees from camps in Malaysia in exchange for that country accepting 800 asylum seekers who arrive by boat at Christmas Island, the ABC reports.

The deal was challenged by two asylum-seekers, who were scheduled to be among the first to be transferred to Malaysia from Christmas Island.

Their lawyers argued that Australia could be in breach of its international obligations, because it could not guarantee the rights of those sent to Malaysia.

The court has ruled the swap deal is unlawful.