Australia’s detention of asylum seekers on Manus Island is illegal, Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court ruled, ordering both governments to start bringing the program to an end.
About 850 men, half of whom have been granted refugee status, are currently held in the detention center on the tiny Pacific island, according to Australian news service ABC News. Officials have recently tried to move some to a transit center. Others are told they must return to their countries of origin.
Papua New Guinea’s high court found that the detention camp violated the country’s constitutional guarantee to personal liberty, because it limits detainees’ freedom of movement. While refugees can leave during the day, the asylum seekers whose applications were declined cannot.
Manus Island is Papua New Guinea’s fifth largest island and the site of a detention center built by Canberra in 2001 to house what it terms “unauthorized maritime arrivals” in Australia.
- TIME's Top 100 Photos of 2021
- Inside Frances Haugen's Decision to Take on Facebook
- Why We Should Stop Freaking Out About Inflation
- Austria's Plan to Make COVID-19 Vaccines Compulsory Is Dividing Citizens — and Experts
- Inside the 80-Year Quest to Name Pearl Harbor's Unknown Victims
- Buying a House Feels Impossible These Days. Here Are 6 Innovative Paths to Homeownership
- 'They're Very Close.' U.S. General Says Iran Is Nearly Able to Build a Nuclear Weapon
- A Charter School's Racial Controversy Reveals the Real Battle For America's Classrooms