Feb 24, 2014

Our new refugee ‘dumping ground’: what Cambodia thinks of the request

Australia now wants to send asylum seekers to Cambodia. Kevin Ponniah, a freelance journalist in Phnom Penh, reports while the government is conducive there are many questioning the fairness.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has asked Cambodia to resettle an unspecified number of refugees who have sought asylum in Australia — a request that has been met with bewilderment by many in this impoverished country of 15 million, where 20% of people live on less than $1.50 a day.

Bewilderment by rights activists and opposition politicians, that is. The Cambodian government has pledged to take the request “very seriously” and has even announced a working group chaired by the Interior Minister to examine the proposal.

Free Trial

Proudly annoying those in power since 2000.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’s terms and conditions


Leave a comment

16 thoughts on “Our new refugee ‘dumping ground’: what Cambodia thinks of the request

  1. Venise Alstergren

    The ‘Cambodian Solution’ to our refugee problem is beyond any realm of sense or reason. And whereas I have always had a dim view of Julie Bishop’s hold on reality, that she has paddled way out of her depth is blatantly obvious.

    Cambodia is desperately poor and, believe it or not Julie, is a culture foreign to Australians, who at least inhabit the same geographic area: let alone someone coming from Iran or the Sudan.

    Perhaps this is a clever ploy by the Coalition to put a bounty on escaping refugees to help defray the costs of all those multiple inquiries we are having foisted on us?

    Australia must be down to Dante’s seventh circle, thanks to the Liberal Party. Abandon hope all ye who enter here.

  2. klewso

    They jumped into bed with Sri Lanka too.

  3. Andybob

    If she could send them to the moon, she would.

  4. MJPC

    There’s always Norfolk Island, they still have the old jails there, pity about them missing the roofs but that is probably a benefit for those pesky refugee’s to teach them a lesson.

  5. Dogs breakfast

    “Australia must be down to Dante’s seventh circle, thanks to the Liberal Party. Abandon hope all ye who enter here.”

    I think we might be looking at the 7th circle in the rear view mirror actually, Venise.

    You have to hand it to these Liberals, the brilliant insight, the cutting to the chase mindset. When we finally get up the guts to announce that we are also seeking the support of governments in Iran, Sudan, Syria, Darfur and Sri Lanka to take refugees then we will have solved the world’s refugee problem, and imagine how much all that boating, illegal and otherwise, air travel and first world paperwork will add to global GDP.

    So many problems solved!

  6. klewso

    “I just made ’em an offer they couldn’t refuse ….”?

  7. AR

    Perhaps they’ll be given work clearing minefields, as PoWs were in so many ugly conflicts.
    Like VA, I thought it couldn’t get any worse than Manus, Malaysia & Sri lank (a recruitment centre for the Manus director we learnt today!)but Cambodia – does DeathStare not have any inkling of common sense?

  8. Interrobanging On

    The appeal to an ex-Khmer Rouge cadre made good in Hun Sen of having his reputation laundered by the Liberal Party intent on getting rid of human refuse must be great.

    Military police gun down protestors in January, Liberal Party cosies up in February…

    Just like Abbott’s laundering of torture in Sri Lanka and probable white anting of a UN investigation into abuses there.

  9. colin skene

    What has this country become? Seriously, to what new lows can this disgusting government take us? Hopefully this is it,…the lowest point in human decency without a change in approach or more serious repercussions for those involved.

  10. Jimmyhaz

    So how exactly do we pick countries for this? Set up a dart-board with the names of small asian-or-brown-people majority nations, and throw darts until we hit a name?

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details