Manus Island refugee detention illegal, PNG Supreme Court rules

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Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court has found Australia’s detention of asylum seekers on Manus Island to be illegal.

A five-man bench has ruled that the detention is in breach of the right to personal liberty in the PNG constitution and has ordered the PNG and Australian governments take immediate steps to end the detention of asylum seekers in PNG.

Around half of the 850 men in detention on Manus Island have been found to be refugees, a report by the ABC said.

PNG’s immigration authorities have recently been trying to move refugees out of detention and into a so-called transit centre and offering them a chance to level detention during the day under certain conditions.

Unsuccessful applications by asylum seekers are unable to leave detention and are being told they must return to their country of origin.

The decision means that both refugees and asylum seekers are being illegally detained on the island because their freedom of movement is curtailed.

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