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Papua New Guinea's top court: Australian detention center is illegal
Around 900 asylum seekers are detained on Manus Island
Papua New Guinea plans to shut down an offshore migrant detention center used by Australia after a top court ruled it unconstitutional.
Following Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court ruling Tuesday, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill announced that he will ask Australia to seek other options for detainees at the Manus regional processing center in the Pacific island nation.
“We did not anticipate the asylum seekers to be kept as long as they have at the Manus center,” O’Neill said.
Around 900 men are in the detention center on the Papua New Guinea island, according to Australian immigration authorities.
O’Neill said Papua New Guinea would welcome “legitimate” refugees who want to settle in his country.
While acknowledging the economy would suffer as a result of the closure, he pledged to work with Australia to ensure business owners would be taken care of. Negotiations with Australia will determine the time frame of the closure.
He also said he was proud of the part Papua New Guinea played in stopping deaths caused by the people-smuggling trade.