Sunday, March 18, 2018
Text Size

Site Search powered by Ajax

Papua New Guinea to close Australian refugee centre

PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill's announcement comes after the country's supreme court ruled the camp was illegal.

Papua New Guinea has said it will close a refugee detention centre after the island nation's Supreme Court ruled that Australia's detention of asylum seekers there was illegal.

Prime Minister Peter O'Neill said in a statement on Wednesday that the facility on the country's Manus Island would be closed and his government would immediately ask Australia to make arrangements for the people held there.

Australian officials have been scrambling to respond to the ruling, which has thrown into jeopardy its policy of refusing to accept people who try to reach its shores by boat.

Australia pays Papua New Guinea and the island nation of Nauru to hold them in detention camps instead.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said the more than 800 men detained on Manus would not be resettled in Australia under any circumstances, maintaining a policy that has been strongly criticised by the United Nations and human rights groups.

"The government's position is very clear - that is that we are not going to accept people who have sought to come to our country illegally by boat," Dutton told reporters in Melbourne. "They will not settle permanently in our country."

Dutton said the Manus detainees could go home or to another country willing to accept them.

"This isn't an intense, toxic political issue in this country. We have got the government and opposition together to see who can be harsher, who can be crueler," Pamela Curr, a refugee rights advocate at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, said.

"Manus has not failed for the first time today. It really is time for Australia to get a grip on reality."

A second legal case on the immediate fate of the detainees on Manus Island will be heard by the Papua New Guinea Supreme Court later this week.

Lawyers acting on behalf of nearly all the Manus Island detainees will argue that they should be taken to Australia and be compensated for being held in custody.

"Every hour that ticks past is another hour, is another day that Papua New Guinea has not abided by the Supreme Court decision - it will add to the compensation we are requesting from the Supreme Court but particularly it is about freedom for the people that have been held on Manus Island for too long," Ian Rintoul, spokesman for the Refugee Action Coalition, which is funding the second legal case, told the Reuters news agency.

READ MORE: Thousands in Australia protests against refugee centres

Many of the detainees at the camps have harmed themselves, with Dutton on Wednesday confirming that a 23-year-old man from Iran had set himself on fire on Nauru island.

Dutton said the man would be evacuated from the island later on Wednesday.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Subscribe via RSS or Email:

Amnesty blasts Aceh's plan to intro...

Read More

Philippines' first female chief jus...

Read More

How IT helps preserve Indonesia's w...

Read More

Japan tsunami anniversary: PM Shinz...

Read More

Survivors recall the My Lai massacr...

Read More

Tropical Cyclone Hola sets its sigh...

Read More


Russia hits back with tit-for-tat expulsion after UK dismisses Russian diplomats over poisoning of Russian former spy.

Read More


Thanks to all of our supporters for your generosity and your encouragement of an independent press!

Enter Amount:



Login reminder Forgot login?

Subscribe to MWC News Alert

Email Address

Subscribe in a reader Facebok page Twitter page

Week in Pictures

One year under Trump

Gun violence in US