Cambodia will take refugees from Australia’s detention centre on the Pacific atoll of Nauru, but only if those seeking refuge volunteer to be resettled here, Minister of Foreign Affairs Hor Namhong said yesterday.
The comments followed similar statements on voluntary resettlement last week by Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison.
Namhong said the government had agreed to a deal, but would only accept refugees that volunteered to come.
“It is not that the government will force them to come or that Cambodia will accept without studying whether they volunteered to come or not, and this is a very important aspect,” Namhong said.
Australia plans to send refugees from its Nauru detention centre – which currently holds more than 1,100 asylum seekers, predominantly from Muslim-majority countries such as Iran and Pakistan – to Cambodia under a bilateral arrangement that is still under negotiation.