NGO Coalition Blasts Refugee Deal Secrecy

Concerns continued to mount on Friday over the secrecy of a pending deal between the Australian and Cambodian governments that would see refugees detained on the South Pacific island of Nauru sent to Cambodia.

The Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee (CHRAC), a coalition of rights groups and NGOs, said in a statement the lack of transparency would inevitably weaken whatever deal is ultimately struck.

“CHRAC is gravely concerned that the two governments will simply push through the deal with no public scrutiny from either country. This is contrary to the fundamental principle of open government, respect for rule of law and due process,” the statement says.

“The two governments have set up the perfect information vacuum surrounding the proposed deal.”

Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong referred questions about the deal to the Interior Ministry, whose spokesman General Khieu Sopheak said he had no update.

Last week, Denise Coghlan, director of the Jesuit Refugee Service, said the Australian official tasked with overseeing the deal had begun work at the embassy.

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