PNG’s Supreme Court ruling does not mean the detention centre on Manus Island must shut, Peter Dutton said this morning.
The Supreme Court ruled Australia’s detention of asylum seekers was illegal and ordered the Australian and PNG governments to immediately take steps to detention. Last Friday night, PNG’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations Fred Sarufa told the UK the court ruling meant the centre would close.
But this morning, Dutton told ABC’s Radio National that the court ruling did not mean the centre must shut.
“The talks will continue for some time, I think they will probably go on for the next couple of months and they can deal with some of the legal issues,” he said.
“But obviously the Supreme Court — as people now understand — had not ruled that Manus needed to close.”
Pressure from Fiji’s representative at the UN hearing of the detention centre was directed at PNG.
“Fiji notes that the effect of this decision is that the detention of asylum seekers and refugees on Manus Island is illegal and unconstitutional and that the persons detained there must be released,” Nazhat Shameem Khan said.
Sweden’s representative also expressed concern.
“More than 900 asylum seekers and refugees are detained indefinitely in detention centres in Manus Island,” Josefin Broden said.
“The conditions in these centres are poor and the prolonged and indefinite detention is a concern.”
Dutton told Radio National that PNG must resettle men found to be refugees.
“Those people that have been found to be refugees under the MOU signed between Mr Rudd and the PM in PNG — the arrangement was for those refugees to be settled in PNG,” he said.