Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Australia seeking new destinations for refugees




Australia seeking new destinations for refugees

Australia seeking new destinations for refugees

Australia is actively looking to strike deals with more countries that can resettle its unwanted refugees as its controversial agreement with Cambodia continues to flounder.

Peter Dutton, Australia’s immigration minister, said yesterday the government was in talks with countries outside of Cambodia in a bid to find new third-party resettlement options.

“We’re working and have been for a long period of time working on other bilateral options,” he said. “We have Cambodia available as an option, and it is difficult when we’ve got probably well-intentioned refugee advocates back here who are messaging up to these people on Nauru, saying ‘don’t accept any offer’.”

Dutton’s office didn’t respond yesterday to questions about which countries had been approached.

Ian Rintoul, spokesman for the Refugee Action Coalition, said Australia’s search for more countries less than a year after signing the $A40 million (US$28.5 million) deal with Phnom Penh “shows how ridiculous the idea of resettlement in Cambodia really is”.

Since the agreement was signed over champagne last October, just four refugees have arrived in Cambodia. One has requested to return to his native Myanmar and is awaiting repatriation.

The Interior Ministry recently claimed two more Rohingya refugees have volunteered for resettlement.

But Rintoul said there was “no sign” of the alleged volunteers. “It is highly likely that they don’t really exist.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Chikungunya hits 15 provinces, says gov’t

    Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said on Thursday that the chikungunya outbreak in the Kingdom has spread to 15 provinces. Some 1,700 people are now suspected to have the disease. Vandine urged people to prevent its further spread by eliminating shelters for the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes

  • Body of woman killed in Bangkok returns

    The Cambodian embassy in Thailand is working to repatriate the body of a casino dealer who was shot dead in Bangkok on Monday night. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation spokesman Kuy Kuong told The Post on Wednesday that officials are preparing paperwork to

  • Gov’t exempts visa A and B holders from Covid fees

    Airline passengers who are diplomats and officials of international organisations holding Type A and B visas for travel to Cambodia are exempted from paying Covid-19 testing fees, said the Ministry of Health in its latest adjustment of rules on Wednesday. Health Minister Mam Bun Heng

  • All inbound flights set to face added scrutiny

    Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said on Monday that the ministry is monitoring all inbound flights, after it was announced that only those from Malaysia and Indonesia will be temporarily cancelled from August 1. Vandine said on Monday that the two countries were identified as

  • Flights from Indonesia, Malaysia cancelled

    A Ministry of Health official has warned of the possibility of Covid-19 spreading through community transmission after the total infected cases in the Kingdom rose to 225. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine told reporters on Saturday that the possibility of community transmission cannot be overlooked and that