Papua New Guinea and Australia have agreed to close a detention centre on Manus Island for asylum seekers but offered no details on when it will happen or on the fate of the 850 men being held there.
Australia’s tough stance on migrants and refugees has long drawn condemnation from human rights groups.
The country has a policy of sending people who try to reach its shores by boat to island detention centres, including Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.
Leaked documents and eyewitness reports have detailed grim living conditions in many of Australia’s detention centres.
In April, Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court ruled that the Australian-run detention centre there was unconstitutional.
Papua New Guinean prime minister Peter O’Neill issued a statement saying he met with Australian immigration minister Peter Dutton in the capital, Port Moresby, and that the two countries agreed the centre will be closed.
Mr O’Neill said he was satisfied that officials from both countries were making progress towards that end.
“It is important that this process is not rushed but carried out in a careful manner,” Mr O’Neill said in his statement. “This must take into account the interests of the people of Papua New Guinea and the wellbeing of asylum seekers and refugees.”
SOURCES: NewsNow/Belfast Telegraph