Australia softens policy on child asylum seekers

Immigration minister said children will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Last Updated: Jun 06, 2011, 10:19 AM IST

Canberra: Australia has softened its policy on sending unaccompanied child asylum seekers to Malaysia after scathing criticism from UN agencies and human rights advocates.

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen told Australian Broadcasting Corp radio on Monday that children will be considered on a case-by-case basis under a refugee swap being negotiated with Malaysia to deter future asylum seekers from travelling to Australia by boat.

The government argued last week against any exceptions being made for children who come by boat to Australia without a parent or guardian.
The UN refugee agency has welcomed Australia`s decision to treat cases of unaccompanied children on their individual merits.

Bureau Report