CHRIS UHLMANN: Yet another poor county in the Asia-Pacific is
about to become a brick in Australia's border protection wall.
The Immigration Minister Scott Morrison will arrive in Cambodia later today to sign a refugee deal that's been shrouded in secrecy.
Few details have so far been released about a deal with a nation that's ranked as one of the most impoverished and corrupt in the region.
What is known is that there will be no cap on the number of refugees sent to Cambodia.
South East Asia correspondent Samantha Hawley filed this report from Phnom Penh.
(Sound of children)
SAMANTHA HAWLEY: At a settlement 40 kilometres from the Cambodian capital, children excitedly run down a dirt road with a bucket which at first glance is full of mud.
(Sound of children)
But as they dig their hands into it they pull out very small fresh water fish that they've collected from a nearby rice field.
It's dinner for as many people as it will go around.
(Sound of woman speaking)
"It's very hard living here," this woman tells me. "We don't have enough food to eat."
They're Cambodia's very own refugees. They're the victims of land grabs.
(Sound of man speaking)
"Living here we have to struggle," this man tells me. "We just do what we can. The people living here don't have any money."
SAM RAINSY: We have a lot of internal refugees ourselves.
SAMANTHA HAWLEY: Opposition party leader Sam Rainsy has his own view as to why the pending refugee deal has been kept so secret by the Cambodian government.
SAM RAINSY: This is like a state secret because it is a matter of money, of corruption so they don't want to expose how they are going to deal with it.
SAMANTHA HAWLEY: The Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has given few details away except to confirm refugees on Nauru will only be sent to Cambodia voluntarily and there'll be no limit on how many can go.
In Phnom Penh there's another sort of refugee too. Thirty-two year old Bunnath Tong was a Cambodian refugee who was taken to America when he was three, almost 30 years ago.
BUNNATH TONG: I was born in a refugee camp here. I'm not sure where exactly the refugee camp but I think it was near the border line with Thailand and I made some mistakes and it landed me here back in my country.
SAMANTHA HAWLEY: Those mistakes were drug crimes. He was deported from America two months ago. He has no family, no friends and no work in Cambodia and he sympathises with the refugees who will come.
BUNNATH TONG: I think it will be very hard for them, you know, not knowing the language, you know, our language here, you know, our language, not knowing English as well. It will be very difficult. I believe they need tons of help.
SAMANTHA HAWLEY: Despite repeated attempts, no-one from the Cambodian government was available for comment.
This is Samantha Hawley in Phnom Penh reporting for AM.
Refugees in Nauru could be resettled in Cambodia by the end of the year following a controversial deal with Australia.
Immigration Minister Scott Morrison will visit Phnom Penh on Friday to sign a memorandum of understanding to allow refugees to resettle in the Asian country.
The offer is voluntary, only applies to people found to be refugees on Nauru and will be funded by the Australian government.
However, the government isn't ruling out extending the deal to refugees on Manus Island.
There's no cap on how many can take up the offer.
Mr Morrison hopes to have people resettled by the end of this year and is working to ensure the proper processes are in place.
Language training would be part of the resettlement package.
The agreement has been criticised by aid and human rights groups as inappropriate, immoral and likely illegal.
Cambodia has high poverty rates and high unemployment but Mr Morrison said he believed Australia should "give them a go".
"This is a country that is trying to get back on its feet," he told ABC radio.