Refugee housing readied

Refugee housing readied

“Villa-style” temporary accommodation in Phnom Penh is awaiting four refugees approved this week for transfer from Australia, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said yesterday.

Leul Mekonnen, who heads the IOM’s Cambodia office, said the villa would be used to house the refugees – who were previously held on the Pacific island of Nauru – “for up to three months”.

IOM caseworkers, he added, would work to find suitable longer-term accommodation “on a case-by-case basis” as “different people have different needs”. Mekonnen declined to reveal the exact location of the temporary accommodation, citing privacy and protection concerns, but said it would be in the capital.

In a statement, the IOM said that, while at the villa, “the refugees will receive intensive Khmer language and cultural and social orientation.” Other support will include “education services, health services, [and] employment services”. Mekonnen said he was unsure when the group would be arriving.

Multiple officials at the Interior Ministry said yesterday that they had no information regarding the arrival date.

The refugees – one from Myanmar and three from Iran – are the first to arrive under a controversial deal signed by Interior Minister Sar Kheng and Australia’s former immigration minister Scott Morrison on September 26.

The group was flown secretly from Nauru to Australia earlier this month, according to a refugee advocacy group and refugees still on the island.

A letter previously distributed on Nauru offered refugees joining the pilot scheme an estimated $15,000 each and numerous other inducements as well as mentioning that “villa-style” accommodation would be available on arrival.

MOST VIEWED

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • Shipwreck found off coast of Koh Kong

    Royal Cambodian Navy researchers are working to identify a decades-old shipwreck found earlier this month off the coast of Koh Kong province. Divers found the 70-metre-long wreck on April 4 about a mile from Koh Chhlam island, according to Navy officials. Deputy Navy Commander Tea Sokha,