The Abbott government wants to send some asylum seekers to Cambodia, at a time when the country’s strongman prime minister, Hun Sen, is overseeing a brutal crackdown on dissent in one of south-east Asia’s poorest nations.
Facing growing opposition after decades of authoritarian rule, Hun Sen last month authorised a violent crackdown on anti-government protesters and striking garment workers that left five people dead and dozens injured.
A request on Saturday by Australia’s foreign minister, Julie Bishop, for Australia to initially send a small group of asylum seekers to live in Cambodia comes amid the strongest challenge to Hun Sen’s rule since he took power in 1985, becoming one of the world’s longest-serving leaders, with a reputation as a wily operator who destroys his political opponents.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/australia-asks-cambodia-to-take-asylum-seekers-amid-violent-crackdown-20140223-33amf.html#ixzz2uBHJgSIL
Scott Morrison’s own conduct should now be the subject of the inquiry he has commissioned into the chaos and disaster that unfolded on Manus Island last week.
The inquiry’s terms of reference should be widened to include who gave the Immigration Minister such wildly inaccurate information after the violence – and what steps he took to verify it before going public.
The minister now concedes he was wrong to assert, without qualification, that 23-year-old Iranian Reza Barati was killed outside the detention centre when he and others “absconded” from the “safety” it afforded. But this is not the only one of his initial assertions that is in dispute. He also said the asylum seeker who was shot in the buttocks received his wound “outside the centre”, that just two shots were fired and there was no suggestion anyone employed by security contractor G4S was involved. All have been challenged.