The first group of refugees to arrive in Cambodia as part of a controversial deal the government struck with Australia a year ago have moved out of their temporary accommodations in Phnom Penh, the Australian government said Thursday.
Four refugees arrived in Phnom Penh from the South Pacific island of Nauru on June 4 and were immediately whisked off to a gated villa in the city’s south, where they were sequestered since.
On Thursday, after a meeting with Sok Phal, chief of the Interior Ministry’s immigration department, Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s office said in a statement that the refugees had moved out.
“During the meeting, Mr. Dutton acknowledged the methodical approach that the Government of Cambodia had applied to integrate the first group of refugees into the community,” the statement said.
“This was highlighted by the recent movement of the refugees from the initial transit accommodation to their own accommodation in Cambodia.”
The statement did not specify how many of the four refugees made the move.
On Tuesday, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry said that one of the refugees, a Rohingya man who had asked to return home to Burma, was scheduled to have departed on Sunday, but that he did not know whether the man had actually left Cambodia.