Cambodia deal to lapse

Cambodia refugee deal to lapse this year

Nine News – May 31, 2018

Australia’s unsuccessful refugee resettlement deal with Cambodia is set to wrap up at the end of the year.

The move comes amid concerns about the Southeast Asian country’s crumbling democracy, ahead of July elections.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed the arrangement struck in 2014 would continue until the end of 2018, during a Senate estimates hearing on Thursday.

Cambodia agreed to resettle refugees from Nauru in exchange for a $40 million aid sweetener, and $15 million was allocated for running costs.

However, only seven people took up the offer and it’s believed only three remain.

Department officials expressed serious concerns about Cambodia’s electoral process and cast doubt on whether the July 29 election outcome would be credible.

Cambodian expats protested Prime Minister Hun Sen’s presence at an ASEAN-Australia special summit in Sydney in March.