Progress is being made between the PNG and Australian governments to close down the Manus Regional Processing Centre.
Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, met with Australian Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton, in Port Moresby to discuss the progress of the closure of the centre.
This agreement came after the PNG Supreme Court’s ruling on April 26, which condemned the centre as unconstitutional, and ordered its closure.
PNG and Australia have finally agreed for the centre to be closed.
There are a series of options that both governments will undertake so that the process is not rushed, but instead carried out carefully.
This is taking into account the interest of the people of Papua New Guinea and the wellbeing of asylum seekers and refugees. It has been three years since the asylum seekers were transferred to Manus for processing, before resettling them to other countries as refugees.
Their coming here was under an arrangement between the Australian and PNG governments in 2012 after they sought asylum in Australia.
In 2013, the then Opposition Leader, Belden Namah, took the matter to court on whether the detaining of asylum seekers in Manus was contrary to their constitutional rights of personal liberty guaranteed in the constitution.
On April 26, 2016, the Supreme Court ruled that the asylum centre was unconstitutional and the asylum seekers are being illegally detained and ordered for its closure. However, a new matter that arose in court after the ruling was the question on who was responsible for the relocation.
This matter will return to court on August 22 for the lawyers representing to explain order number six in the ruling, which asks for both governments to relocate the asylum seekers, because neither has taken any steps.
Today both governments announced that they are working together to close down the centre.