THE Papua New Guinea Supreme Court has ruled that the detention of asylum seekers and refugees on Manus Island is illegal, finding it to be in breach of the PNG Constitution.
The full bench of the court ruled the incarceration of asylum seekers and refugees was in breach of their personal liberty, the ABC has reported, and ordered both the PNG and Australian governments to immediately begin making arrangements to move people out of detention.
The challenge to the offshore detention regime, brought by Port Moresby lawyer Ben Lomai on behalf of more than 300 detainees, argued that the men’s detention was in breach of Section 46 of the PNG Constitution.
This section guarantees “liberty of the person, right to freedom of movement and freedom from inhuman treatment”, as well as the right to access PNG courts and have access to a lawyer.
Lomai argued asylum seekers had been denied these fundamental rights and that the state was required to release the men back to their first port of entry, Australia. He argued PNG was also liable to pay compensation to them.