Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court has ruled Australia’s detention of asylum seekers on Manus Island is illegal.

The five-man bench of the court ruled the detention breached the right to personal liberty in the PNG constitution, ABC reports.

There are 850 men in the detention centre on Manus Island, about half of whom have been found to be refugees.

The Supreme Court has ordered the PNG and Australian governments to immediately take steps to end the detention of asylum seekers in PNG.

The centre operators and PNG’s immigration authorities have recently been trying to move refugees out of detention and into a so-called transit centre.

The decision handed down today means the Manus Island detention centre must be shut down, according to Loani Henao, counsel for the PNG opposition leader.

“It effectively means both governments must take steps to effectively shut down the Manus Island detention centre,” he told Sky News.

The Supreme Court decision means that both groups — refugees and asylum-seekers — are being illegally detained, because their freedom of movement is curtailed.

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  • This is a very complex issue. I agree that the treatment of refuges has been poor but at the same time there needs to be some processes in place to address the issue of illegal entrants. Hopefully this will mark the start of better and more humane processes and policies.


  • If they didn’t delieberately destroy their documents the legitimate refugees could be released a lot quicker. Also they need to have health checks to see if they need to be isolated for treatment. They are possibly in better condtions than they were before they risked their lives getting onto un-seaworthy boats. Some sink before they even get near Aust. waters or are even spotted.


  • Great news ! Hope asylum seekers will get better treatment now.


  • But what happens to future refugees? Most of these people are illegal, trying to enter Australia without the proper paperwork. Surely we can’t just let them all into Australia? At this time, with terrorism at the forefront, it’s too dangerous to just let into the country without proper papers and vetting them. When it comes down to it, we have to look out for ourselves, we are way too soft which is why the refugees target us. A lot of them are economic refugees too, meaning their lives aren’t at risk in their own countries, they’re professionals seeking an easier life elsewhere. True refugees have escaped their homes due to persecution and threats to their lives. Tread carefully Australia


  • Great news. I’m suprised it hasn’t been done sooner


  • This is good news, and may lead to more humane treatment for all asylum seekers.


  • Such massive news, there will be so many happy people to hear this


  • It’s indeed big news. We will probably hear more about these transit centres from now on.


  • I’m glad that it’s going to be shut down. The tragedies that occurred there were unforgivable abd action should definetly be taken.


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