Still haunted by the Vietnam war next door and the 1970s genocide that followed, Cambodia is not exactly the place that the world's refugees dream of reaching. Plagued by poverty, corruption and human rights abuses, it has been run by a prime minister who has held power for 30 years. It's a nation where medical care outside main cities is nonexistent, where decent jobs are so scarce that more than 800,000 of its own people have left. Yet when it comes to 700 asylum seekers detained on the remote Pacific Island nation of Nauru, Australia is hard-selling Cambodia as something unexpected: their new promised land of opportunity. In a video message to asylum seekers on Nauru, Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton - whose nation has said it will never take the migrants - touted Cambodia as "vibrant country with a stable economy and varied employment opportunities... with a blend of many nationalities, cultures and religions." "An opportunity for a new life is now before you," Dutton said. "While it's not Australia, Cambodia offers you safety, security and opportunity." The 700 asylum seekers on Nauru, many from as far away as Iran, Sri Lanka and Myanmar, have been stuck there since 2013. Australia funds a detention centre there similar to another on Papua New Guinea that temporarily houses intercepted migrants who have attempted dangerous journeys across the sea. In a bid to settle their fates, Australia offered Cambodia US$31 million to take the refugees in deal agreed last year. Critics say the country is extraordinarily ill-equipped to host refugees, and they accuse Australia of exploiting poorer nations to rid itself of unwanted migrants. "Australia is basically paying blood money to a much poorer, less developed state with a shoddy record of refugee protection to take people that Canberra doesn't want," said Phil Robertson, deputy director for Asia at Human Rights Watch. "The refugees will find huge hurdles to integrate, jobs that are few and far between, and a resentful local population wondering why this group should get a time-limited year of Australian assistance when ordinary Cambodians do not." Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has defended his government's decision to take in those on Nauru, calling it a "humanitarian" gesture. Son Chhay, a Cambodian lawmaker, said Hun Sen's humanitarian claim was disingenuous. He cited the fact Cambodia had deported Vietnamese and Chinese minorities over the last decade, and questioned why it would now take in "unwanted refugees from Australia" instead. Dutton said on Tuesday that "ringleaders" among the Nauru refugees "have been telling their fellow travellers there not to accept the deal and they are being spurred on by refugee advocates in Australia." Such actions, he says, are "prolonging the difficulties for these people" because it is futile for them to hold onto hope of ever reaching Australia.