Kissinger, it turns out, was responsible for even more misery and death in the U.S. bombing of Cambodia than was already known — which is truly saying something.
History of Cambodia’s Killing Fields,
They expose Nixon’s policymaking, Kissinger’s key role, and how so many Cambodians came to be killed by U.S. aircraft.
Source: Transcripts of Kissinger’s Calls Reveal His Culpability – The Intercept
Henry Kissinger’s Bloody Legacy
Chinese money has made properties in the seaside village of Sihanoukville as expensive as Byron Bay. But now, crowded out by casinos and resorts, the locals are pushing back – literally.
So let us consider some of Turnbull’s other friends. First, let’s take the case of Myanmar. Turnbull has dismissed accusations of human rights abuses in Cambodia and Myanmar as “sweeping generalisations”. Unlike Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi), who said he would confront Myanmar about its treatment of the Rohingyans. Turnbull notably refused to use the term Rohingya, the minority the Myanmar government persecutes (whilst also denying that they exist as a group).
via With Friends Like These, Australia Doesn’t Need Enemies – New Matilda
The Government will not explain why it is engaging a second resettlement agency for the sole Nauru refugee who resettled in Cambodia.
Source: Australia engages second agency for sole refugee in Cambodia – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
A married Iranian couple who were once refugees at Nauru have left Cambodia, in a further sign Australia’s $55 million deal with the south-east Asian nation is a failure.
Source: Blow to Australia’s $55 million Cambodia deal as two more refugees quit
One year after the deal was toasted with champagne, what has become of Australia’s A$55m plan to relocate its rejected refugees in Cambodia?
Source: Australia’s refugee solution: An expensive joke? – BBC News
Cambodia says it has ‘no plans’ to take more Nauru refugees, but Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop insist Australia has secured ‘important agreement’
Source: Cambodia deal doomed after just four Nauru refugees resettled for $55m | World news | The Guardian
Australian Silence Endures As NZ Joins UN and US In Concerns Over Nauru
As the situation on the island deteriorates, Australia has continued its vital financial contributions to the nation. Max Chalmers reports.
The Abbott government plans to send hundreds of refugees to Cambodia. Ironically, many poor Cambodians are displaced refugees in their own country
Like many five-year-olds in Cambodia, Samang must work for a living. He spends his days collecting drink cans from the rubbish dump that doubles as his home and then takes them to his grandmother, who crushes them with a brick. His grandmother does her best to care for him after his mother left Cambodia to find work in Thailand because there are no jobs in Phnom Penh. He is HIV positive.
I travelled to Cambodia to see what life will be like for the refugees the Abbott government plans to send there. Ironically, Cambodians like Samang have become refugees in their own country. Slum dwellers in the capital, Phnom Penh, have had their land and homes grabbed from under them by developers, and are pushed out onto the streets without any compensation.
Samang’s story is tragic, but it’s also common in a country that has been destroyed by brutal civil war, poverty and decades of endemic corruption. Human rights abuses are on the rise as the government cracks down on those who challenge the corrupt justice system and public services. Only last week, seven local mothers were jailed for a year for peacefully protesting the government’s inaction over sewage that floods their homes and children’s school on a regular basis.
Most of all, I fear for the young women and girls who Australia will send here. The sex trade is rife in Cambodia and young women are almost without protection. Orphanages in Cambodia are still full of young girls and boys, taken from poor homes with the promise of food and education, who are then exploited and sold for sex and labour. Clearly it is no place for Australia to be sending families who came to us asking for protection.
I met a young Rohingyan refugee named Tayab who has lived in Phnom Penh for several years. He has no officially recognised residency or citizenship and, therefore, none of the basic human rights that come with it. He cannot travel, get a job or own a vehicle. He survives by cooking roti every morning and selling it to passers-by on the street. Without official identification papers, it’s the best he can do.
“There is no future for me here,” he told me as we sat in in his cramped flat, “I want to leave but I can’t. Without papers, if I do leave, I will have to do it illegally.”
After a long pause, he added: “This deal, with Australia, it is very bad luck for the refugees.”
The Cambodian and Australian governments have been tight-lipped about the details of the refugee deal. At a farcical signing ceremony in September, the media snapped photos of the immigration ministers clinking champagne glasses but were ignored when they tried to ask questions about the new arrangement. What we do know, largely from Senate estimates questioning, is that refugees will be sent there by the end of the year. Australia will pay $40m plus costs for the privilege and, after a short time spent in the country’s capital, refugees will be dumped in regional Cambodia and told to get on with their lives.
Regional Cambodia’s rice fields and stunning natural beauty are interposed with scenes of stark destitution. The vast majority of Cambodians work in low paying, unstable and informal jobs – and this is especially true in the regions.
While visiting one of the villages in the rural province of Battambang, I spoke to parents at the local school. The overwhelming majority of them told me they had to travel to Thailand to work (often illegally) to earn enough money to survive. Unless you already own land and can grow rice, there are no jobs in the regional areas. What jobs will the refugees Australia sends here actually be able to perform? None, as far as I can see. There’s no work in Phnom Penh either – many are likely to take the locals’ advice and head across the border, where the wages are better.
Right now, there are 63 refugees and 21 asylum seekers in Cambodia. That’s a mere 84 potential refugees in the whole country. NGOs told me that they can’t care adequately for even that small number. There are more than 1,200 asylum seekers on Nauru, including families and children. All will be sent to Cambodia if the Australian government gets its way. The Abbott government is willing to pay to set this deal up, but the country clearly can’t cope with such a significant influx of vulnerable people.
While the politicians in Canberra might have decided to condemn the refugees on Nauru to a life of poverty and hardship, Australians deserve to know about the realities of life in Cambodia. They need to know about Tayab, poor young Samang and they need to know the truth: this dirty deal with Cambodia will condemn hundreds of families to a life of senseless and cruel destitution.
The Abbott government knows full well that it won’t be able to support the refugees that it dumps in Cambodia. Alarmingly, it doesn’t care.
- Names in this article have been changed.
Protesters in Phnom Penh hold signs during a demonstration against Cambodia’s plans to resettle intercepted refugees. Photo: Reuters
Bangkok: Cambodian authorities frequently extort money from asylum seekers living in the impoverished nation, according to an investigation that raises new concerns about Australia’s plan to send refugees there.
Asylum seekers have also told of how they are targets of discrimination in the country, often paying inflated prices for food, work equipment and basic necessities because they are not Cambodian.
“There is a foreigner price and a local price,” a refugee told Human Rights Watch investigators. “But we can’t afford the foreigner price.”
A Sri Lankan refugee said people call him a terrorist and use offensive words against him because he is an ethnic Tamil
Human Rights Watch has released a report detailing how asylum seekers and refugees living in Cambodia face hardships including difficulties obtaining employment, denial of access to education, substandard access to health services, extortion and corruption by local officials.
Refugees said fear of mistreatment by Cambodian authorities kept them from speaking out or joining organisations to bring complaints.
The report’s release follows similar claims by Australian Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young during a visit to the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh this week.
Ms Hanson-Young described sending refugees to Cambodia as “madness”, saying what she had seen in Phnom Penh’s slums had hardened her opposition to the plan, which has been condemned by human rights groups, refugee advocates and Cambodia’s opposition MPs.
The Abbott government is paying almost $40 million in additional aid over four years to Cambodia in return for the country accepting an unstated number of refugees who volunteer to resettle outside Phnom Penh.
They will be offered accommodation, training, food and loans to start small businesses over their first 12 months in the country.
Human Rights Watch called on the Australian government to press Cambodian authorities to implement key reforms to improve treatment of refugees in Cambodia before transferring any people from the tiny Pacific island of Nauru who are being encouraged to take up the Cambodian option.
“The Australian government shouldn’t make the refugees in Nauru suffer further by dumping them in a place unable to adequately resettle or reintegrate them,” said Elaine Pearson, Human Rights Watch’s Australian director.
Human Rights Watch interviewed 10 of 63 refugees living in Cambodia and spoke to refugee and migrant support organisations, human rights groups and United Nations agencies.
Years after arriving in Cambodia – one of Asia’s poorest nations – not one refugee had received a Cambodian residence card or citizenship, depriving them of availability to basic services.
The refugees are issued only a “parkas” proclamation by the Ministry of Interior that confirms their right to stay in Cambodia.
But the proclamation cannot be used for many official purposes.
“This piece of paper is absolutely useless,” a refugee told Human Rights Watch.
“To get a job, a driver’s licence, open a bank account, buy a motorbike or even receive a wire transfer, you need to show a passport, not this piece of paper.”
Some refugees said they are in a dire financial situation and would be unable to survive in Cambodia without support of the Jesuit Refugee Service.
Refugees told of how they rarely go outside because when they do they often face extortion, bribery and corruption.
A self-employed street bread seller said: “We have to pay bribes just to be able to sell food.”
Another refugee said the main problem in Cambodia was discrimination and mistreatment based on a person’s financial status.
“But it is also worse if you are a refugee with the wrong skin colour and not the right religion,” one said.
“Money will buy you everything, but if you haven’t got money then you can’t protect yourself and can’t protest about discrimination and mistreatment.”
One refugee had advice for refugees on Nauru: “This is a corrupt country. You will not find jobs. We have been here more than two years and we have no money and not enough to eat. It’s better to wait in Nauru. It’s a very, very bad life here in Cambodia … there is no future.”
Foreign Aid inducement plus costs will abrogate responsibility.
It will be a silenent “operational matter”
Cambodia is a refuge for political expediency
September 27, 2014
The Abbott government’s squalid deal with one of Asia’s poorest and most corrupt nations reflects badly on Australia, harms our regional ambition to be seen as a friendly neighbour and abdicates our moral responsibility to the vulnerable.
‘Their standards are not our standards – and it is very wrong of Australia to send people who have come into our care, however briefly, to a country whose standards are so different from ours.”
How two faced can you get? This was Tony Abbott’s withering critique, from opposition in 2011, of Labor’s ill-judged people-swap with Malaysia. The Coalition at the time refused to support the Malaysian deal, arguing – as did The Age – that the rights of asylum seekers could not be protected. Those very same doubts apply in at least equal measure to Cambodia.
Immigration Minister Scott Morrison, having initially refused to acknowledge the negotiations with Cambodia with his regrettable contempt for public information, has now made a risible attempt to dress up this deal as a sign of that country’s progress. But, politically, the country is moribund. Prime Minister Hun Sen has preserved his grip on power for more than two decades by intimidation and repression.
Australia to strike a deal that promises Cambodia an additional $40 million in aid over four years, to accept refugees whom Australia itself has refused to accept, smacks of exploitation.
Offshore processing of refugee applicants in Nauru and Papua New Guinea is an attempt to evade Australia’s international obligations; now, by paying to send refugees to Cambodia, the government is similarly attempting to buy its way out of the responsibility to resettle people found to be fleeing persecution.
It is extraordinary that, beyond the additional $40 million in aid, the government has entered into this deal with an apparent blank cheque, to pay for the costs of providing for refugees in Cambodia. Mr Morrison has conceded the cost is unknown.
Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/comment/the-age-editorial/cambodia-is-a-refuge-for-political-expediency-20140926-3gqby.html#ixzz3ETRZiuU3
There is no economic argument for what Morrison is doing. If 20,000 adult refugees were settled to become tax payers of this country at the lowest level $10-15k it would bring the government approx $300 mill or over $2 billion income over the next 5 years and that’s only one group of 20,000. What’s our reputation as a global citizen worth. Nothing it would appear to this government. Immigration,Climate,Security,Welfare,Education have become the most regressive policies in the Western World.
Cambodia refugee deal: Protests outside Australian embassy in Phnom Penh as Scott Morrison signs agreement
As few as four or five people could be sent from Nauru to Cambodia under a deal signed by Immigration Minister Scott Morrison in Phnom Penh today.The agreement will offer settlement of refugees on a voluntary basis, with the number of refugees accepted to be determined by Cambodia.
“In order to ensure an effective and positive implementation of the resettlement program, Cambodia and Australia have agreed to undertake an initial trial arrangement with a small group of refugees which will be followed by further resettlement in accordance with Cambodia’s capacity,” the statement said.
Australia will pay Cambodia $40 million in additional aid and also “bear the direct costs of the arrangement, including initial support to refugees, and relevant capacity building for Cambodia”.
Cambodians say country unable to look after its own
Riot police kept watch outside the Australian embassy in Phnom Penh as Cambodians protested against the agreement.Around 100 protesters gathered outside the embassy to protest against the deal, saying the poverty-stricken country was unable to look after its own people and should not be taking in Australia’s refugees.Refugee advocates said they feared locals would be upset if refugees were given money and were perceived to be better off than others in the community.
Cambodia: Fact File
- Cambodia has a population of around 15 million
- More than 96 per cent of them speak Khmer
- It is a democracy under a constitutional monarchy. King Norodom Sihamoni currently reigns, while Hun Sen is prime minister
- Suffered civil war under the Khmer Rouge, who sent 1.7 million Cambodians to their deaths in the ‘Killing Fields’
- 20 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line
- The country remains one of the poorest in Asia
- 37 per cent of children under the age of 5 suffer from chronic malnutrition
- More than half of the population is less than 25 years old
- More than half of the government’s money comes from international aid
There are also fears that the Australian funding will end up in the pockets of corrupt officials.
Mr Morrison earlier said there would be no cap placed on the number of refugees Cambodia would accept, but said it would only take those who voluntarily chose to go there.Human rights and aid groups working on the ground in Cambodia called the deal “shameful”, and said the country had a terrible record of protecting refugees.”It is shameful but it is also illegal,” said Virak Ou, president of Cambodia’s Centre for Human Rights.
“The Australian Government has an obligation to protect refugees and sending them Cambodia’s way is not how a responsible country protects refugees.”Cambodia is in no position to take refugees. We are a poor country, the health system is sub-par at most. I don’t know how the refugees will send their kids to school.”The Cambodian school system is rife with corruption … the access to education here is quite bad. So I don’t know what the Australian Government is thinking nor what they expect from
The criticism comes despite Cambodia and Australia keeping details of the agreement secret.
An alliance of international aid, children’s and human rights and refugee organisations said grave fears were held for the welfare of the refugee families, especially children.
The alliance includes UNICEF Australia, Save the Children, Plan International Australia, World Vision, Amnesty International, the Refugee Council of Australia, International Detention Coalition and Children’s Rights International
Former Chief Justice of the Family Court, Alastair Nicholson, the spokesman for the alliance, said Cambodian non-government organisations have advised the plan would overwhelm an already struggling welfare sector and exploit one of the poorest nations in south-east Asia.
“It’s reprehensible,” he told Fairfax Media. “We have picked out the poorest and worst governed states in Asia to fend off these unfortunate people,” he said. “It’s not regional resettlement, it’s just suiting Australian convenience with a degree of arrogance that I find is appalling.
“The exploitation of children is really troublesome,” Mr Nicholson said.
Human Rights Watch said the agreement does not meet Australia’s commitment to send refugees to a “safe third country” and will undermine refugee protection in the region.”Australia’s deal with Cambodia will send people to a country that has a terrible record for protecting refugees and is mired in serious human rights abuses,” said Elaine Pearson, Australia director at Human Rights Watch.
The deal is believed to involve Australia sending up to 1000 refugees to Cambodia, mostly from Nauru. This would represent a 1075 per cent increase of refugees in the country.
There was speculation that Canberra would, in return, provide more than $40 million in additional aid to the country, which is rated among the world’s most corrupt nations.Mr Morrison confirmed that figure on Friday, and told ABC radio that those costs could increase
“We have clear costs on the ADA payments and that’s $40 million over four years,” the Minister said.
Alister Nicholson was Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia. He is now a professor of law at Melbourne University and the founder and patron of Child Rights International. He knows Cambodia very well as CRI is assisting the Cambodian government in the establishment of a Cambodian Children’s Court from ground zero. In the following interview he discusses Scott Morrison’s efforts to send 1000 Asylum Seekers from Nauru to Cambodia abrogating Australia’s duty of care for purely political gain at a $40 mill cost +++