27 Sep 2014

Australian refugee deal condemned

1:53 pm on 27 September 2014

International human rights organisations have criticised the Australian government's deal to resettle refugees from its camp on Nauru to Cambodia.

Refugee protest

A protester holds up a placard at a rally in Sydney opposing Australia's plan to start sending asylum-seekers to Cambodia. Photo: AFP

Protesters clashed with riot police outside the Australian embassy in Phnom Penh as the Immigration Minister Scott Morrison signed a memorandum of understanding on the resettlement, yesterday.

There were also protests in Sydney over the agreement.

The agreement stipulates refugees will be sent only on a voluntary basis, with the number to be determined by Cambodia, the ABC reported.

The Australian government made an aid down payment of $A40 million and will also pay the costs for housing and educating refugees who go there.

Amnesty International was calling the deal a new low in what it said was Australia's deplorable and inhumane treatment of asylum seekers.

And the United Nations High Commission for Refugees says it is "deeply concerned" by the precedent the deal sets.