But now Australia has a new plan to get rid of pesky refugees attempting to assert their legal right to asylum: ship them off to Cambodia. The arrangement, which Human Rights Watch said in September would “undermine refugee protection in the region”, cost Australia 35 million USD.
A letter recently distributed by immigration officials to refugees detained on Nauru explains:
The opportunity to settle in Cambodia is now available to you. The first flight from Nauru to Cambodia for refugees will be as soon as 20 April 2015. Moving to Cambodia provides an opportunity for you and your family to start a new life in a safe country, free from persecution and violence, and build your future.
“Cambodia is a safe country, where police maintain law and order. It does not have problems with violent crime or stray dogs.”
Look, this whole thing is ridiculous (not least because Cambodia is an impoverished dictatorship with catastrophic human rights issues of its own), but that last bit is a straight-up fabrication. Cambodia has SO MANY stray dogs. They’re so thick on the ground that multiple times during the months I lived there I looked down and discovered that my hand was actually inside of a dog’s mouth.
Let’s try to keep the lies within reason, Australia.