Which Australian Government travel advice is telling the truth about Cambodia? - Rusty Compass travel blog

Which Australian Government travel advice is telling the truth about Cambodia?

| 15 Apr 2015
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15 Apr 2015

Which Australian Government travel advice is telling the truth about Cambodia - the one for Aussie citizens or the one for asylum seekers?

The Australian government has two contradictory travel advisories for Cambodia. Which one is more accurate? Which government department is lying?

One advisory is provided for Australian citizens travelling abroad on its www.smartraveller.gov.au website. Another has been created for some of the world’s most vulnerable people - people seeking asylum in Australia who are locked up in offshore detention centres.

Australia wants to palm off its asylum seekers to Cambodia after a deal was done to send them from harsh Australian government run mandatory detention, to one of Asia’s poorest states.

Here’s what the Australian government tells asylum seekers about Cambodia (From the Guardian) -

“Cambodia is a diverse country with multiple nationalities, cultures and religions. They enjoy all the freedoms of a democratic society including freedom of religion and freedom of speech.”

It goes on: “Cambodia is a safe country, where police maintain law and order. It does not have problems with violent crime or stray dogs.”

On health care?

According to Australia's Immigration Department, healthcare in Cambodia “is of a good quality for the region, with many doctors and hospitals that treat both Cambodians and foreigners”,

And here’s what Australian travellers are told (www.smartraveller.gov.au)

First, on health care?

“Health and medical services in Cambodia are generally of a very poor quality and very limited in the services they can provide. Outside Phnom Penh there are almost no medical facilities equipped to deal with medical emergencies.”

And on security?

“The level of firearm ownership in Cambodia is high, and guns are sometimes used to resolve disputes. There have been reports of traffic disputes resulting in violence involving weapons. Bystanders can get caught up in these disputes. Foreigners have been threatened with handguns for perceived rudeness to local patrons in popular Phnom Penh nightclubs and elsewhere.”

“Local police and security forces have responded with force on occasion, and may not distinguish between demonstrators and bystanders. You should monitor local media for information about protest locations.“

“Some people were killed and a large number injured in separate protests in Phnom Penh in late 2013 and early 2014, including five protesters who were killed in Phnom Penh’s Pur Senchey District.”

How much lower can Australia go?

Mark Bowyer
Mark Bowyer is the founder and publisher of Rusty Compass.
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