31 Jan 2014

PNG's Institute of National Affairs says court decision significant

1:44 pm on 31 January 2014

Papua New Guinea's Institute of National Affairs says a decision by PNG's Supreme Court to allow a legal challenge against the country's asylum-seeker deal with Australia is no surprise.

The court has ruled in favour of granting opposition leader Belden Namah standing to legally challenge the government over the constitutionality of the detention centre on Manus Island.

The director of the institute, Paul Barker, says the court's decision is significant.

The Supreme Court has made it clear that anyone within Papua New Guinea, whether citizens or non-citizens are subject to the rules, the laws of PNG, and that basically cannot be circumvented and the government can change a law but if the law is inconsistent with the constitution then the Supreme Court will stand by that position.

Paul Barker says in many parts of the world asylum-seekers are kept in the community rather than being held in a detention centre.