Nauru refugees reach Phnom Penh


Cambodia Daily reports the arrival and settling-in of the first refugees from Nauru (three Iranians and a Rohingya). Photo shows the villa they get put in. Not too seedy, but not for forever, either.

The Daily’s article says the villa is “adorned with large red arrows” – eh?

The villa is down on the southern outskirts of the city, a bit over 3km from the Royal Palace (i.e., city centre). Not far really. No idea what plans there are for the post-settling-in phase.

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“I feel a bit scared about the refugees staying here, because I don’t know about their character or attitudes,” said An Sophat, 62, who has a roadside stall about 20 meters from their home.

Ms. Sophat said that she had not received any warning about their arrival, and was taken aback when they showed up in her neighborhood.

“Yesterday, I saw a lot of cars coming here and I was surprised, I wondered what was happening,” she said. “I saw the cars of the IOM, they drove the foreigners into that building.”

Like Ms. Sophat, another resident of the area, Hun Dany, 23, said that she was apprehensive about the new arrivals.

“If I met them outside my home, I could talk with them, but I could not invite them into my home because I don’t know them properly, so I don’t know whether to believe they are good or not,” she said.

But Hang Raksmey Phalla, 31, who lives next to the compound, said she was unconcerned about the presence of the refugees in the area.

“I feel fine about this, because Cambodians also go to live in other countries,” she said.

Asked if she would welcome the group into the community, Ms. Phalla, who works at the Ministry of Water Resources, said “I will observe them first.”