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Rohingya refugee back in hospital, friend says

A Rohingya Muslim refugee – who was transferred to Cambodia from Nauru under a costly and controversial deal and said he feared he would die in the Kingdom – found himself back in hospital yesterday, according to a friend and confidant.

Mohammed Yusuf, who said he was like a “brother” to unwell refugee Mohammed Rashid, yesterday said Rashid had been taken to the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital on Sunday, after a three-day hospitalisation last week.

Rashid is one of only two remaining refugees who moved to the Kingdom under the A$55 million scheme, which Interior Ministry refugee department director Kerm Sarin defended yesterday.

“We have the obligation to give them protection . . . The refugees from Nauru have to come [here] voluntarily; we could not force them,” he said.

Sarin said he was “not concerned” about the $8,000 payment Australia promised refugees to entice them, and which Rashid said he had not received in full. Referring to the A$40 million in aid given to Cambodia, he added: “I don’t know exactly what the money is for.”

His comments come in the wake of Australian Greens Senator Sarah Hansen Young calling for the auditor-general to investigate millions spent “to grease the wheels of a corrupt regime, so that the government can dump a handful of people in an impoverished country”.

International Organisation for Migration (IOM) spokesperson Joe Lowry said he would not disclose how much money had been entrusted to them out of the $2 million Australia outlaid so far to resettle the refugees.

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