World

Refugee advocate says 5 asylum seekers in Nauru want to be among the first to go to Cambodia

A refugee advocate says five asylum seekers from Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Iran have agreed to be among the first to leave the Pacific island nation of Nauru for Cambodia under a deal that allows refugees rejected by Australia to be resettled in the Southeast Asian country.

Australia-based advocate Ian Rintoul said Monday that none of the five had had their refugee claims accepted yet. But he expects the process will be fast-tracked.

The bilateral agreement signed in September stipulates that those resettled in Cambodia must be genuine refugees who volunteer to go.

Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton would not say when the first plane would leave Nauru or how many refugees it would carry.

Human rights groups have condemned the deal as being dangerous for refugees.