Refugee Office Finishes Vetting Nauru Volunteers

An official at the Interior Ministry’s immigration department said Tuesday that his office has finished vetting the four refugees on Nauru who have volunteered to resettle in Cambodia, though final approval of their applications is still pending.

The four are among hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers Australia is holding on the South Pacific island nation, and the first to volunteer for a scheme agreed by Canberra and Phnom Penh last year to move an unspecified number of them to Cambodia.

“We have not yet decided when the four volunteers will depart [from Nauru], but I have already sent a report to the upper levels for a final decision,” said Kerm Sarin, who heads the immigration department’s refugee office.

Mr. Sarin referred further questions to Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak, who could not be reached.

Australia, which is refusing to take in any of the refugees itself, has been strongly rebuked for seeking to send them to one of the poorest and most corrupt countries in the region.

The four volunteers are from Burma and Iran.

pheap@cambodiadaily.com

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