UNHCR High Commissioner, António Guterres, tells ministers the right to employment is key to self-reliance.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres (Photo © UNHCR/S.Hopper)
By: Michelle Arevalo-Carpenter, Overseas Operations Director, Asylum Access
Today, António Guterres, the High Commissioner for Refugees, emphasized the crucial importance of the right to work for refugees to an audience of foreign ministers from around the globe.
Last week, Australia and Malaysia signed a controversial agreement that allows Australia to send 800 asylum seekers to Malaysia. In return, Australia will take 4,000 refugees from Malaysia over the next four years. The agreement, which is atypical, has been criticized for failing protection standards for refugees.
One of the main concerns critics have raised over the Australia-Malaysia refugee swap deal has been the large gap between rights refugees can enjoy Australia (access to health, education, eligibility for lawful employment once recognized) and Malaysia (detention, exploitation and caning). What – critics ask – are the prospects for the 800 asylum-seekers being sent to Malaysia?