Cambodia takes first refugees from Australia in aid-for-refugees deal

Protesters hold placards at the 'Stand up for Refugees' rally held in central SydneyCambodia has agreed to take four refugees held by Australia on the Pacific island of Nauru, kickstarting a controversial deal under which Phnom Penh will receive an extra A$40 million ($30 million) in aid in return for accepting asylum seekers. The deal, struck last September, has been criticized by human rights groups and opposition lawmakers in both countries, who accuse Australia of shirking its international obligations by redirecting asylum seekers to other countries in the region. The agreement only applies to refugees willing to go to Cambodia, one of the poorest and most corrupt countries in Southeast Asia, and so far none had volunteered despite incentives including cash payments.

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