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Court blocks Australian immigration deal

SYDNEY, Aug. 31 (UPI) -- Australia's High Court voted 6-1 Wednesday against sending 800 asylum seekers on Christmas Island to Malaysia for processing.

The court issued a permanent injunction saying the government cannot dispatch asylum seekers to any country that is not legally bound by international law or its own law to provide them with proper care, Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

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Malaysia is not a signatory to the U.N. Convention on Refugees and does not have domestic laws that satisfy the court's criteria.

"What the High Court decided today is not what was previously considered as understood and accepted law," said Immigration Minister Chris Bowen.

Bowen said the ruling indicates the High Court has applied a new test when it comes to third-party processing.

"It's a significant blow to our efforts to break the people smuggler's business model," Bowen said.

Last July the government signed a deal to send 800 asylum seekers to Malaysia in exchange for 4,000 refugees who had already had their cases settled.

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