PHNOM PENH —
Two officials from Cambodia’s Interior Ministry departed for Australia and the Pacific Island of Nauru Monday, to ensure that an initial group of asylum seekers there will move to Cambodia, part of a controversial deal with Australia.
Five asylum seekers have reportedly agreed to take the deal and move to Cambodia—a country critics say is ill equipped to absorb them. Both Cambodia and Australia have been heavily criticized for the deal.
“Responding to the request of the Embassy of Australia, two officials will meet with asylum seekers to make clear whether they are volunteering or not (to come),” Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak said.
Cambodia has agreed to take more than 1,000 refugees who had sought asylum with Australia, in exchange for some $30 million in aid, in an agreement that rights workers say contravenes the spirit of international law.