Asylum-seekers in Australia win High Court judgment

09:28, November 11, 2010      

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The High Court on Thursday handed down a judgment, which is expected to have major implications for Australia's offshore detention centre system.

The court in Canberra found that two Tamil men were denied procedural fairness when seeking a review of their refugee claims.

The two men arrived in Christmas Island last October claiming they would be persecuted if sent back to Sri Lanka. However, they had been refused protection visas and await deportation to Sri Lanka.

The men wanted Immigration Minister Chris Bowen to personally review their case but were told he had no duty to do so because they were being held offshore.

In a unanimous decision, the High Court has ruled that there was an error of law and the two men were denied procedural fairness when Government contractors reviewed their case.

The men's lawyers also claimed the Federal Government's processing procedures on Christmas Island are unlawful and unconstitutional.

Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland described the case as significant.

The decision in favor of the Sri Lankans was expected to have major implications for Australia's system of processing asylum- seekers on Christmas Island.

"We will give very close consideration to the case and I think it is fair to say it is a significant case," he told ABC Radio on Thursday.

The full impact of the decision, and what implications it might have for the operations of the offshore detention system, was still being assessed.

Source: Xinhua


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