IOM May Assist in Nauru-Cambodia Refugee Relocation

Thailand – IOM has announced that at the request of three of its Member States – Cambodia, Nauru and Australia – it will develop a program aimed at facilitating the relocation and integration of refugees from Nauru to Cambodia.

IOM has communicated this decision to the Cambodian and Australian governments, who last year signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the Settlement of Refugees currently living in Nauru.

IOM, the world’s leading migration body, comprised of 157 Member States, believes this initiative will help improve access to services for all refugees in Cambodia.

Some 400 foreign nationals have been living in the Nauruan community since the Government of Nauru began making refugee status determinations in mid-2014. A further 800 foreign nationals are currently living in Nauru awaiting refugee status determination.

It is unclear how many will choose to move to Cambodia if offered the opportunity. Yet after a lengthy assessment and consultation process, IOM has decided to offer support to any foreign nationals living in Nauru, who freely and voluntarily make a decision to relocate to Cambodia.

IOM has built up global expertise over the past 64 years, having relocated millions to new home countries. The organization will offer similar services once the status of those foreign nationals in Nauru is determined and if they opt for relocation to Cambodia.

These services could include pre-departure orientation; language training and pre-travel preparation; arranging transport to and reception in Cambodia; and working with partner organizations and local authorities to help them find work and access services after they arrive.

IOM set out several conditions before agreeing to become involved in the relocation process. These included the possibility of family reunification for those who seek it; the right to live and work anywhere in Cambodia; sufficient funding for all aspects of the program to allow them to establish self-reliance, possibly to the point of naturalization for those who may need it; efficient provision of recognized legal documents that would allow them to access health care, educational and employment opportunities; sufficient time to prepare the integration package prior to arrival in Cambodia; and an agreement that all designated refugees in Cambodia, including those who are already in the country, would have access to similar entitlements.

The Government of Cambodia has given assurances that it will cooperate with IOM in fulfilling these conditions.

IOM will not be involved at any time in discussing relocation options and any decision to move from or remain in Nauru is one for the foreign nationals themselves and for the governments determining their eligibility for the program.

IOM believes that its involvement will facilitate improvements for the good of all parties in this extremely complex situation, bearing in mind IOM’s mandate to ensure the well-being and dignity of all migrants. Using IOM’s extensive and global operational experience with such programs, IOM can bring significant credibility to the process.

For more information please contact

Joe Lowry
IOM Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
Tel. +66 818 708 081
Email: jlowry@iom.int