PHNOM PENH – One of four Australia’s refugees, who resettled in Cambodia as part of a 43-million-U.S. dollar resettlement deal between Australia and Cambodia, has asked to be sent back to his birth country Myanmar, just three months after his arrival, local media reported Sunday.
The four — a Myanmar’s Rohingyan minority man and three Iranians — who were denied access to Australia and held on the tiny Pacific island of Nauru, voluntarily agreed to resettle in Cambodia on June 4. Since then, they have been temporarily housed in a villa on the outskirts of Phnom Penh under the care of the International Organization for Migration.
Cambodian Interior Ministry spokesman Gen. Khieu Sopheak said that the Rohingyan minority man had requested to return to his birth country because he wanted to reunite with his family. “He misses his homeland and asked to be sent back to Myanmar,” the spokesman was quoted by the Fresh News, a well-known Khmer- language news website, as saying.
He added that the man’s request was voluntary and Cambodia would contact the Myanmar government to repatriate him to his hometown.
Cambodia and Australia signed a refugee deal last September, under which Australia will send refugees, who intend to seek asylum in Australia and are being held in an offshore detention camp in Nauru, to resettle in Cambodia.
Australia had provided 31 million U.S. dollars in aid to Cambodia as part of the agreement. In May this year, it unveiled an additional 12 million U.S. dollars for the resettlement plan.