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Australian minister says Cambodia refugee deal on track

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Australian minister says Cambodia refugee deal on track
September 10
15:18 2015

PHNOM PENH  – Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has made an unannounced visit to the Cambodian capital, where he met government officials and received assurances that a $55-million refugee transfer deal was still on track.

Dutton’s office released a statement on Thursday, which said Wednesday’s meetings with Prime Minister Hun Sen and Interior Minister Sar Kheng — who inked the deal a year ago with former Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison — “reinforced the commitment of both nations to the successful implementation of the resettlement arrangements for refugees from Nauru”.

Nauru is the tiny, South Pacific island where asylum seekers and refugees who attempt to reach Australia by boat are detained.

According to the deal, genuine refugees who volunteer to do so can leave the island to be resettled in Cambodia.

However, only four have done so — a Rohingya man and three Iranians — and the Rohingya has already requested to be sent back to Myanmar, where Rohingya are not officially recognized and have been subject to state sponsored persecution over the past few years.

Two weeks ago, the Interior Ministry spokesman said there were “no plans” for Cambodia to take any more refugees. Dutton’s statement on Thursday, however, said Hun Sen and Kheng were committed to seeing the plan through.

“Both the prime minister and deputy prime minister committed to facilitating further resettlement of refugees from Nauru who have expressed interest in moving to Cambodia and to measures to accelerate the integration of refugees into Cambodian society,” Dutton said.

The statement added that he would be holding talks on Thursday with Sok Phal, the director-general of Cambodia’s department of immigration, as well as Leul Mekonnen, chief of mission in Cambodia for the International Organisation for Migration, which is providing logistical assistance in the resettlement program.

Note: Changes have been made, News Fulton County is not responsible for these.

Source: News Fulton County.



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