PNG has released all asylum seekers in detention on Manus Island

Manus Island. Photo: The Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship via Getty Images.

Papua New Guinea immigration authorities say 900 asylum seekers and refugees are no longer in detention on Manus Island, according to the ABC.

New restrictions put in place by local authorities means detainees can leave the centre during the day, or leave the island if they sign an agreement to be resettled in PNG.

Around half the men kept in detention on Manus have been assessed as genuine refugees.

The changes follow a PNG Supreme Court ruling last month that found the detention of asylum seekers – sent there after attempting to head to Australia – was illegal under the country’s constitution.

As part of that ruling the PNG and Australian governments were ordered to immediately take steps to end their detention.

Since then down Australia and PNG have disagreed on what legal processes will need to be taken to comply with the court order.

Despite PNG prime minister Lucas O’Neill announcing a fortnight ago that the centre would close, Australian immigration minister Peter Dutton said the government will not allow any of the refugees or asylum seekers onto Australian soil.

“People on Nauru and on Manus who have come by boat will not settle in Australia. I cannot be any clearer on that,” he said.

The Manus Island facility was originally set up by the Howard government, but closed for nearly a decade before reopening in 2012 under the previous Labor government as it sought to deal with a growing influx of asylum seekers.

The ABC has more.

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