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Rights Group: Refugee Swap Between US, Australia Breaks International Law

A rights group says a recent deal between the United States and Australia to trade refugees held at offshore detention centers breaks international law.

Human Rights Watch says that refugees are not products for countries to trade.

It says the two governments are trying to frustrate the desire of future refugees to join relatives by transporting them halfway around the world. It added that principles protecting international refugees require states not to deter possible future asylum seekers or to break up families.

In a deal announced Wednesday, the U.S. and Australia said they will annually exchange for resettlement up to 400 legitimate refugees detained at detention centers in Guantanamo Bay and the Pacific island of Nauru. HRW said the two governments use such centers to avoid their legal obligations of providing sanctuary under the 1951 Refugee Convention.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.