The Law Council of Australia has expressed its concern about the recently announced agreement between the Commonwealth Government and Malaysia to exchange asylum seekers for refugees.
Law Council of Australia president Alexander Ward does not believe the trade of asylum seekers for refugees is appropriate.
"The Law Council has significant concerns in relation to how this agreement will be managed and how the human rights of asylum seekers and refugees will be protected," Ward said.
The Law Council is concerned that Malaysia is not a party to the United Nations Convention (Convention) relating to the Status of Refugees; a Convention to which Australia is a party and must therefore adhere to the obligations outlined in its Protocols.
"For Australia to enter into an agreement with a country that is not party to the Convention raises significant concerns regarding the treatment of asylum seekers who are sent to Malaysia," said Ward.
"Previous concerns have been expressed about the treatment of illegal immigrants in Malaysia."
While scant details regarding the Australian Malaysian Asylum Seeker Agreement have been released, the Law Council noted that the President of the Malaysian Bar issued a statement on 9 May calling for the Australian and Malaysian Governments not to proceed with the Agreement given "the legal situation and conditions of life of asylum seekers and refugees and their families in Malaysia is degrading, demeaning and dehumanising, and wholly unacceptable to any civilised society".