PNG court declares Australian refugee detention camp illegal

The beast down under wakens…

Counter Information

By Mike Head
28 April 2016

In what amounts to an indictment of the Australian political establishment, the Papua New Guinea (PNG) Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that the imprisonment of refugees in an Australian-controlled detention facility on PNG’s remote Manus Island was unconstitutional.

The unanimous decision by five judges of PNG’s highest court demonstrates that the detention at Manus not only violates international law, which recognises the right to seek asylum, but also flagrantly breaches the country’s constitution, which bans the unlawful deprivation of personal liberty.

Immediately, the verdict affects nearly 1,000 male detainees, including 482 UN-recognised refugees. Many have been imprisoned indefinitely since 2012 in the camp, which is located inside a World War II-era PNG naval base. More broadly, the ruling effectively exposes the illegal character of the bipartisan Australian policy of incarcerating asylum seekers on islands in the Pacific and Indian Oceans—on Manus, Nauru and the…

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