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Australia: Immigration Minister announces proposal to offload refugees onto Cambodia

Amnesty International criticises Canberra for 'shirking human rights reponsibilities' to poorer nation

Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison bragged yesterday that refugees living on the Pacific atoll of Nauru could be palmed off on Cambodia under a proposed agreement between the two governments.

The government already pays Nauru and the impoverished South Pacific island nation of Papua New Guinea to house more than 1,000 asylum-seekers trying to reach Australia by boat.

This has resulted in no new asylum seekers reaching Australia this year from Indonesian ports.

Mr Morrison claimed that Cambodia’s response to Australia’s efforts to strike a resettlement agreement were “very, very positive.”

But Amnesty International criticised Australia’s not-in-my-back-yard policy.

“It should be leading by example, instead it’s again shirking its human rights responsibilities to poorer, under-resourced nations,” said Amnesty spokesman Graeme McGregor.

The Refugee Council of Australia expressed fears that refugees on Nauru would be pressured into accepting unsustainable resettlement arrangements in Cambodia.


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