Children asylum seeker to be sent to Malaysia: Australian minister

10:05, June 03, 2011      

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Australian Immigration Minister Chris Bowen confirmed that children asylum seekers traveling alone to Australia will be sent to Malaysia under the plan between the two countries, Australian Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said on Friday.

The latest confirmation has again turned the issue under debate.

In early May, the government announced its controversial proposal to send up to 800 asylum seekers to the back of the queue in Malaysia, in return receiving 4000 already processed refugees. The plan has not yet been formalized.

Bowen on Thursday night confirmed that the 800 refugee to be sent to Malaysia will include vulnerable children who make the perilous boat journey to Australia without parents or adult guardians.

He said Australia wants to send a strong message to people smugglers by sending unaccompanied minors to Malaysia.

Amnesty International said children without families, especially girls, will be targeted by gangs and officials in Malaysia.

"On top of the well-documented human rights abuses faced by all asylum seekers in Malaysia, unaccompanied women and girls face extraordinary levels of sexual violence and sexual harassment," Amnesty spokesman Graham Thom said in a statement released on Friday.

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Source: Xinhua
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