Nauru Volunteers Still Waiting for Gov’t OK

The head of the Interior Ministry’s refugee office said Thursday that he was still unaware of any government decision to accept or reject resettlement applications from a group of four refugees being held by Australia.

The four refugees, from Burma and Iran, are the first to volunteer to come to Cambodia from the South Pacific island of Nauru in a deal Canberra and Phnom Penh struck last year.

On Tuesday, Kerm Sarin said he had already sent his report on their applications up the chain of command for a final decision. “I have already sent the report to the upper level, so my job is over,” he said Thursday.

Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak could not be reached.

On Wednesday, the Australian Associated Press reported that Australia had temporarily transferred the four to Darwin on Sunday, citing a spokesman for the Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network.

Rights groups say the refugees were misled about conditions in Cambodia and induced to take the offer with promises of several thousand dollars each.

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