Australia sends refugees from Nauru to Cambodia

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 8.24.32 PMDeputy prime minister of Cambodia Sar Kheng and Australia’s minister for immigration Peter Dutton signed a memorandum of understanding on migration in March. Photograph: Mike Bowers for the Guardian

The Guardian has just reported that a plane is standing by to send the first refugees from Nauru to Cambodia, and they could arrive within days. It says  the refugees who opt for resettlement (these are all voluntary) will be housed “in the style of serviced apartments.” What does that mean – they’ll have someone to do the cleaning and make the beds? Still, I do expect that their life in Cambodia will be pretty good, since the aim will be to entice those still on Nauru to sign up.

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This is the letter being handed out to refugees on Nauru:

“The opportunity to settle in Cambodia is now available to you. The first flight from Nauru to Cambodia for refugees will be as soon as 20 April 2015. Moving to Cambodia provides an opportunity for you and your family to start a new life in a safe country, free from persecution and violence, and build your future.”

“Cambodia is a diverse country with multiple nationalities, cultures and religions. They enjoy all the freedoms of a democratic society including freedom of religion and freedom of speech.”

Errrr … multiple nationalities, cultures and religions? Almost one hundred percent Cambodian, Khmer and Buddhist would be closer to the truth. Quite a lot of the refugees are Afghans, Iraqis, Iranians, Rohingya from Burma, and Sri Lankans (the last group are at least Buddhist) And all the freedoms of a democratic society? Someone’s stretching the truth a little.

It goes on: “Cambodia is a safe country, where police maintain law and order. It does not have problems with violent crime or stray dogs.” Stray dogs? But, yes, I’ve never been bothered by stray dogs.

File under “Society”, also under “Watch”.

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