Plans by the Australian government to impose a lifetime ban on anyone who seeks to reach the country by boat without the necessary visa have hit a setback after an official from the United Nations stated that the regulation would be probably be in breach of the Refugee Convention. The proposed law states that asylum seekers sent to the processing islands would not be allowed to apply for any Australian visas even if they have been classed as refugees elsewhere. It is thought that this would breach rules laid down by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees that states that refugees seeking asylum must not be punished. There has been much discussion about the proposals amongst Australians with the opposition party criticizing the plans putting the passing of the bill in the Senate into doubt. Whilst most Australians are concerned with immigration issues there is a belief amongst some that this new Bill is too extreme. The latest statistics show that there are currently 1233 people detained on the islands of Manus and Nauru which will be affected by this new Bill many whom have been there for some time. However the United National convention of Refugees states that signatories “shall not impose penalties, on account of their illegal entry or presence, on refugees.” The regulations do not affect the continuing processing of 12,000 Syrian and Iraqi refuges that are being taken in on a one off agreement or the resettlement of refugees from Central American which is set to continue until 2019 at least. There are currently options for the asylum seekers on Manus Island to resettle in Papua New Guinea and for those on Nauru to travel to Cambodia and it is thought that the government is in discussions with other countries on the resettlement of some of the asylum seekers.
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