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Uncertainty Awaits Newcomers

Billy Otter / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
A newspaper advertisement (R) publicizing the Australian government's policy on asylum seekers arriving by boat. (KT Photo: Reuters/David Gray)

Phnom Penh, August 18, (Khmer Times) – The deal is all but done, and Cambodia will soon be home to a new group of refugees. A land that many people dream of leaving will soon be the final stop for those coming from Nauru. 

Officials from Australia are expected to be in Cambodia this week, likely to put the finishing touches on the memorandum of understanding between the two nations.

Denise Coughlan, of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), said that the situation was so shrouded in secrecy that they have had no information made available to their organization, which has been providing relief services to refugees in Cambodia since 1994.

Human rights groups have called it a dumping and a violation of refugee protection. The provision of basic human rights for these exiles has also been questioned. 

The social service network in Cambodia is almost non-existent, with most of the work being provided by NGOs. With so many of its own citizens living in poverty, the prospects for the new arrivals look grim.

The JRS is calling for the refugees to be given documentation that will allow them to seek employment immediately, and allow their children to have access to education. 
They are also asking that the exiles not be put into detention. With the recent roundups of homeless citizens in Phnom Penh and their subsequent placement in Prey Speu, the city’s municipal social affairs center, it could be a possible future for the refugees.

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