UN critical of pending asylum seeker deal

Officials with the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Tuesday spoke out for the first time against Australia’s plans to send some of the asylum seekers trying to reach its shores to Cambodia, saying the pending deal was not a “real solution.” … “From our point of view, resettlement is looking for durable solutions for refugees…who have had to flee their homes,” UNHCR senior regional protection advisor Tom Vargas told reporters in reference to Cambodia. “A real solution is not to send them to a country that is still recovering from a horrible civil war that killed millions of its people,” he said. “It’s not in the spirit of resettlement as far as I can tell.” His concerns echoed those of some rights groups who criticized Australia for trying to hand its legal responsibility for the asylum seekers over to one of the poorest countries in the region. They have also accused Australia of ignoring Mr. Hun Sen’s spotty human rights record to try and make the asylum deal happen. …

Zsombor Peter