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Protest in Australia with a Yellow Banner

Protesters march towards a theatre where Immigration Minister Chris Bowen was giving a speech in Sydney (AFP/File, Torsten Blackwood)

Thank UMNO to make yellow color an international color of protest on the streets.

Court halts Australia, Malaysia refugee swap

SYDNEY — Australia’s High Court Monday extended a temporary halt on the controversial transfer of asylum seekers to Malaysia, preventing the government from sending a first group to the Asian nation.

At a hearing in Canberra, the court decided to extend an injunction on the removal of boatpeople until a further hearing can be heard, likely in the week beginning August 22.

“The (immigration) minister is restrained from removing from Australia the plaintiff (asylum seekers) until the matter is determined by the court,” a spokeswoman for the High Court told AFP.

The decision means that the government’s plans to send 16 Afghan and Sri Lankan asylum seekers to Malaysia are now on hold. The group had been due to fly to Kuala Lumpur early Monday.

Lawyers for the asylum seekers had argued that they were entitled to have their claims determined in Australia and asked the court to rule the swap deal — under which Australia will accept 4,000 refugees from Malaysia — invalid.

The government argues that Immigration Minister Chris Bowen has the power to make decisions such as this regarding asylum seekers.

Bowen has said he was expecting the so-called “Malaysia Solution” to face legal challenges, but that the government was determined to implement the plan to stem the flow of boatpeople making the perilous sea journey to Australia.

Rights groups have criticised the deal from the start, accusing Australia of not meeting its legal obligations to refugees and risking the health and safety of vulnerable people, including children.

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