Immigration

Manus Island detention centre set to close

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill hs announced the detention centre on Manus Island will close.

The decision comes after Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court yesterday found that keeping asylum seekers and refugees at the centre was unconstitutional.

“Respecting this ruling, Papua New Guinea will immediately ask the Australian Government to make alternative arrangements for the asylum seekers currently held at the Regional Processing Centre,” Mr O’Neill said.

“As I stated recently at the Australian Press Club, we did not anticipate the asylum seekers to be kept as long as they have at the Manus Centre.

“For those who have been deemed to be legitimate refugees, we invite them to live in Papua New Guinea only if they want to be a part of our society and make a contribution to our community.”

The Manus Island detention centre opened to maritime asylum seekers in 2001, as part of the Howard Government’s Pacific Solution.

The centre was closed by the Labor Government in 2008 and re-opened in 2012.

“Those deemed to be legitimate refugees are often people who are fleeing from war or disaster, and as a global community we need to step up and do more to help,” Mr O’Neill said.

There are 850 asylum seekers at Manus Island.