Papua New Guinea is to shut a detention centre used by the Australia for asylum seekers, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has declared.
His statement followed a Supreme Court ruling on Tues that detaining individuals in such a camp was unconstitutional.
Australia sends asylum seekers to the Manus Island jail cell under its offshore processing policy.
Earlier on Wed, Australia’s PM had said that the asylum seekers were the responsibility of the PNG.
“Naturally we are operating, we’ll work with them, support them,” Malcolm Turnbull said, adding, “but it is a matter that we have got to go through the judgment, got to undergo the implications, what the choices are for the PNG government.
“So, I am unable to offer a definitive road map from here right today,” he added.
Currently about 850 men are held on the island, about half whom are judged real refugees.
Mr. O’Neill also said that, following the ruling, “PNG can instantly ask the Australian government to form different arrangements for the asylum-seekers presently held at the Regional processing Centre”.
He said that that those “deemed legitimate refugees” would be invited to live in PNG “if they need to be a part of our society and build a contribution to our community.”
“It is obvious,” he added, “that many of those refugees who don’t wish to settle in PNG.”
Mr O’Neill’s announcement leaves Australia with a headache – what to try to do with the asylum seekers, says the BBC’s Jon Donnison in Sydney.
One possibility is for Australia to shift them to its offshore detention centres in Nauru and on Christmas Island, he adds.
Following the Supreme Court ruling, Peter Dutton, Australia’s Immigration Minister made it obvious that the asylum-seekers wouldn’t be permitted to return to Australia.
Gillian Triggs, the president of Australian Human Rights Commission, had said that court decision revealed Australia’s immigration policies were “increasingly out of step with international norms.”
Five judges on PNG’s Supreme Court’s bench ruled that the Manus Island camp had broken the section forty two of constitution, that guarantees personal liberty.
The court also stated that “all steps” ought to be taken to finish the “illegal” detention.