UN Opposed to Pending Refugee Deal With Australia

A spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Monday reiterated the agency’s objections to a pending plan that would see Australia transfer to Cambodia some of the asylum seekers it is currently holding offshore on the Pacific island nation of Nauru.

“We strongly believe that asylum seekers should have their claims processed in the territory in which they arrive,” Vivian Tan, a regional spokeswoman for the UNHCR, said about the plans between Australia and Cambodia.

“Bilateral agreements that seek to shift the responsibility for protecting refugees set a worrying precedent for the global refugee system,” Ms. Tan said.

Cambodia announced the start of negotiations on a transfer deal in February, but Cambodia and Australia have since released almost no details about the plan.

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