Australia, Papua New Guinea to close Manus Island detention camp

Last Updated: August 17, 2016

Australia and Papua New Guinea agreed that Manus Island asylum centre is to be closed. According to the Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court, such a detention centre is unconstitutional.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea Peter O’Neill had met with an Australia’s immigration minister, Peter Dutton. Their meeting in Port Moresby was aimed at reaching an agreement regarding the Manus Island asylum centre. According to O’Neill’s statement:

“Both PNG and Australia are in agreement that [Manus Island] centre is to be closed.”

In April the Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea found that detaining asylum seekers and refugees at the centre are unconstitutional. So, Manus Regional Processing Centre should be closed, agreed both the countries. At the moment, in the centre houses 854 men, would not close immediately.

Of course, such a decision will be considered more detail, a series of options are being advanced and implemented, promised the ministers:

“This must take into account the interests of the people of Papua New Guinea and the wellbeing of asylum seekers and refugees.”

Map of Manus in relation to Australia
Map of Manus in relation to Australia

The camp opened in 2001 (under PM  John Howard) and closed formally in 2008. However, in 2012 (on the wave of asylum seekers), Australia reopened Manus centre, it was an important political issue for the Labor government. UN and HR advocates all the time criticise the conditions at the Manus camp and call Australia to close it.