Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Resettlement rapped

Resettlement rapped

Australian Federal Police monitor the transfer of the first group of asylum seekers to be moved from Christmas Island to Nauru in 2012
Australian Federal Police monitor the transfer of the first group of asylum seekers to be moved from Christmas Island to Nauru in 2012. DIBP

Resettlement rapped

In his maiden address as incoming UN high commissioner for human rights, Jordanian Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein yesterday alluded to a refugee resettlement scheme currently being negotiated by the Cambodian and Australian governments that has drawn the ire of rights groups.

The United Nations has largely been silent about the proposal since it was revealed by Cambodian officials in February, but Zeid appeared to make reference to it as he condemned Australia’s detention of asylum seekers in front of the UN Human Rights Council.

“Australia’s policy of off-shore processing for asylum seekers arriving by sea, and its interception and turning back of vessels, is leading to a chain of human rights violations, including arbitrary detention and possible torture following return to home countries,” he said. “It could also lead to the resettlement of migrants in countries that are not adequately equipped.”

Local rights groups and opposition party politicians have repeatedly stated that they do not believe Australia should be “dumping” its refugees into Cambodia, citing, among other things, a lack of basic social services available to the population.

Andrea Giorgetta, Southeast Asia head at the International Federation for Human Rights, said Zeid had made a “clear reference” to the deal between Australia and Cambodia, which she said was “ill-conceived and inhumane”.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Life goes on’ if Cambodia loses Everything But Arms

    Cambodia's business sector is exploring ways to mitigate any fallout from a possible loss of access to the EU’s Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement as talks continue before the 28-member bloc makes a final decision. The EU monitoring process is set to conclude in

  • Nesat beach: A magnet drawing tourists to the Kingdom’s coastline

    A white sandy beach lined by countless coconut trees awaits travellers off Cambodia’s southwest coast in Koh Kong province’s Srae Ambel district, about 170km from Phnom Penh. Over the past few years Nesat beach – a name inspired by a nearby fishing village – has

  • PM: Workers must train for Industry 4.0

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has urged the Kingdom’s workforce to seek more technical training and strengthen their skills if they are to avoid job losses resulting from the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Hun Sen said the fourth industrial revolution is like a double-edged sword that

  • Huawei applies for OS trademark in Cambodia

    China's Huawei Technologies Co has applied to trademark the “Hongmeng” operating system (OS) in a number of countries including Cambodia in a bid to launch its homegrown operating system as a replacement for the Android OS, Reuters has reported. Huawei has applied to trademark the “