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Efforts to protect migrants by sea

Efforts to protect migrants by sea

Cambodia, along with 13 other countries, has agreed to step up efforts to protect migrants travelling by sea, rights groups said yesterday.

During a workshop in Jakarta that ended on Tuesday, representatives of countries, including Australia and Malaysia, agreed to take “collective action” to promote and protect the rights of people rescued and intercepted at sea, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which co-chaired the event, said in a statement yesterday.

“The countries of origin, transit and destination that you represent recognise the need for genuine multilateral and regional cooperation,” James Lynch, UNHCR’s regional representative and regional coordinator for South East Asia, told delegates at the workshop.

The meeting comes amid speculation that Australia is negotiating a deal to resettle refugees in Cambodia.

UNHCR senior regional protection adviser Tom Vargas said Australia’s proposal to send refugees to Cambodia is “not in the spirit of resettlement”, Fairfax Media reported.

Speaking with Fairfax yesterday, Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said it was encouraging that countries were willing to offer resettlement places for those who are seeking asylum in Australia.

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